The Nigerian Army has accused residents of Magumeri village in Borno State of conniving with Boko Haram insurgents who tried to attack the village on Wednesday night before they were repelled by soldiers
Soldiers had, Wednesday night, repelled what could have turned out a massacre when dozens of Boko Haram fighters attacked Magumeri, a village 52 kilometres from Maiduguri, the state capital.
Magumeri village had never been attacked since the Boko Haram insurgency began.
The Wednesday attack came days after Boko Haram released a video showing armed men in hoods executing three men who were labelled government ‘informants’.
The attackers’ mission, according to the spokesperson of the Nigeria Army, Sani Usman, was to kill everyone in the community and then the village ablaze. But soldiers deployed in the area fought off the insurgents who stormed the village at about 6 p.m.
Mr. Usman, a brigadier general, said the army gathered intelligence that some residents of the village largely helped those that attacked Magumeri.
He said troops were in pursuit of the attackers, most of whom had escaped with gunshot wounds.
He said the attack on Magumeri could not have been possible without the help of residents of the community.
He said most of the killed Boko Haram fighters were faces known to many members of the agrarian community.
“While troops are still consolidating and mopping up, it is imperative to state that preliminary investigation shows that the attackers of Magumeri came from the same community”, he said.
“The terrorists that attack the village are well known to the people.
“It should also be noted that the village was never attacked throughout the period of the insurgency for some inexplicable reasons. The terrorists and their collaborators hibernating in the area were never exposed. There seems to be unholy alliance between the terrorists and the villagers.
“Consequently, we are constrained to state that it’s now high time for the people to take up the fight themselves and help the Nigerian military and other security agencies to protect them. It is a grievous mistake and criminal offence to continue to shield or harbour any known Boko Haram terrorist in their midst.
“The terrorists must be exposed and their movements promptly reported to the security agencies. The terrorists are inhuman and barbaric, therefore cannot be trusted to spare anyone in perpetuating their inhuman acts.
“It is imperative that all communities in the North East especially Borno State, should fully cooperate with the military and the Security agencies by exposing Boko Haram terrorists in their respective towns and villages.”
The Nigeria military had in December 2016 announced the fall of Sambisa forest after the capture of Camp Zairo, the supposed strong hold of Boko Haram, where it’s leader, Abubakar Shekau, is believed to have been hiding.
Since the celebrated fall of Sambisa forest, the Nigeria troops had continued with what it called mop up operation of “remnants of the terrorists” whom the military authorities insist are now in disarray.
The insurgents have sustained periodic attacks on soft targets that have so far claimed many lives including those of troops. Most of the attacks were suicide bombings carried out by teenage girls.