An analysis of the attacks in Adamawa State that preceded the emergency rule.
The relative peace enjoyed by the people of Ganye Town in Adamawa State was shattered on Friday, March 22, when some gunmen attacked a prison, police station and a bank.
The attack led to the death of the Deputy Comptroller in charge of Ganye Prison, Baba Musa, and many other residents of the town including a prominent politician. The attackers also succeeded in releasing about 127 prison inmates.
The attack on Ganye appears to follow a pattern suggesting that the attackers have a mission beyond just attacking security installations. In almost all the attacks carried out by the hoodlums, financial institutions appear to be the target. Police stations and prisons were only attacked to cripple the security officials on the ground and also divert attention from the real mission of the attackers, security operatives have said.
The attack drew a lot of condemnation including from two of Ganye’s prominent sons. The town is home to the current National chairman of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Bamanga Tukur, and former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar.
Both men have since condoled with the people and also commented on the extraordinary nature of the attack.
Mr. Tukur had said while paying a sympathy visit to the traditional ruler of Ganye, Umaru Sanda, that the attack was a strange one. He pointed out the need for proactive measures to be adopted in tackling the problems of insecurity in the country.
The PDP chairman also called on the people of the community “to seek God in prayers because everything is becoming strange to our people.” He said the attack is one between good and evil, adding that the nation is under siege.
“This is evil opposing good; here are people who attack mosques, churches, markets, banks, motor parks, police stations without considering who is there. Surely, our nation is under siege. It is not the question of PDP, ACN, CPC or any political party or religion. The truth is that Nigeria is under siege, therefore, all of us must come together and face this challenge,” he said.
On his part, the former Vice President who is also the Sardauna Ganye, in a letter of condolence to the people of the community, said he was deeply traumatized by the deadly attack on them by terror gangs. According to him, the destruction of the lives of innocent people on whatever scale, was indefensible and despicable.
Mr. Abubakar urged the people of Ganye and other Nigerians at large to be more vigilant in the face of these grim challenges of insecurity.
Beyond the Ganye attack
Although, Deputy Inspector General of Police Atiku Kafur, had on April 25 mentioned the arrest of 24 suspects in connection with the attack on Ganye town, findings by PREMIUM TIMES suggests that whatever group is behind the attack has systematically followed what appears to be a pre-planned strategy of destabilizing the state.
Ganye lies on the extreme Southern part of Adamawa State and shares a border with Cameroon Republic. Only Toungo Local Government is furthest to the town from Yola, the state capital.
Our findings show that gunmen had, on December 13, 2012, attacked and burnt down the Madagali Divisional Police Station in Madagali Local Government Area of the state. The Madagali incident, on the Borno State border, was the second in the area within the year. Madagali also shares a border with Cameroon Republic and is at the end of Adamawa State from the northern part of the state capital.
The Madagali incident appears to be the start of the gunmen’s attacks that developed into a pattern in the state.
After the attack on Madagali, gunmen again on December 28, 2012 attacked the Maiha Prison and Divisional Police Station in Maiha Local Government Area of the state. A resident of the town, who preferred anonymity, told the News Agency of Nigeria in Maiha that the attack took place at about 3 a.m. on December 28.
During the Maiha attack, in which two people were killed-a policeman and a civilian, the hoodlums also attacked prisons, customs office, the presidential lodge, the area court and the Local Education Authority offices in the local government. About 35 inmates of the prison reportedly escaped but authorities later said 11 were re-apprehended.
Two days after the Maiha attack, gunmen again attacked the Hong Divisional Police Station in Hong Local Government Area. Police spokesperson in Adamawa State, Ibrahim Mohammed told the News Agency of Nigeria after the attack in Hong that the gunmen attacked the station at 8 p.m. the previous day, adding however that they were repelled by policemen who engaged them in a shootout.
“They were forced to retreat in different directions and were disorganized after they were forced to abandon their mission; they scattered and could not regroup to attack other places as they planned,” Mr. Ibrahim said.
He explained that no casualty was recorded on the police side except that a girl in the neighbourhood sustained a minor injury from a stray bullet.
On January 3, gunmen reportedly killed four persons after they attacked the Song Divisional Police Station and the local government secretariat in an early morning raid. Police spokesperson, Ibrahim, said the attack claimed the lives of a soldier, a policeman, an old woman and her grandchild. He said the gunmen, who used machine gun and explosives, burnt the police station and the secretariat.
On the day Mr. Kafur announced the arrest of 24 persons in connection with Ganye attack, gunmen again attacked Mayo Belwa, hometown of the state governor, Murtala Nyako. Reports said the gunmen attacked a Divisional Police Headquarters and a bank in the town. They also shot five persons, among them a police woman who lost her life, while the rest were taken to the hospital for treatment for gunshot wounds.
Mayo Belwa is about 40 kilometers to Yola and only Jada Local Government sits between it and Ganye Local Government.
A review of the pattern of the Adamawa attacks, against security and government installations in the state and the killing of innocent Nigerians, shows the gunmen traversed the length and breadth of the state, starting from the northern part of the state and terminating at the South.
It will also show that apart from Mayo Belwa and Song Local Governments, almost all the other local governments attacked share a border with Cameroon Republic. They form part of the nine local governments in Adamawa that share border with other countries, mainly Cameroon.
The Adamawa State Governor, Murtala Nyako, questioned the Declaration of a State of Emergency in the state; saying the state was the most peaceful in the north east.
But, the pattern of attacks, allegedly carried out by the Boko Haram, and the state’s apparently porous borders may have influenced the president’s decision.