Residents blame lack of security presence in their communities.
At least seven persons were shot dead and three others drowned while fleeing gunmen believed to be Boko Haram on Thursday at Gashigar, a fishing border community in Borno State , residents and police authority said.
The villagers of Gashigar said such attacks have recently become frequent due to a total lack of security presence in border communities.
The Borno State Police Public Relations Officer, Gideon Jibrin, who confirmed the incident to journalists in Maiduguri, however, contended the claims that there was no security presence in the attacked area.
“If we don’t have the Nigeria police in Mobbar local government and surrounding villages. There is no how the report of the incident would have reached the State Commissioner of Police within the shortest time possible,” he said.
The attack on Gashigar came about four days after a similar one was made on two neighbouring villages where the same gunmen attacked and killed five person in a nocturnal attack.
According to Mr. Jibrin, during the recent attack, three of the fleeing residents had drowned in the river, while trying to cross to the Nigerien border.
The immediate former vice chairman of Mobbar Local Government, Talba Gashigar, who lives in the village of Gashigar, said the attackers invaded their village at about 7pm of Thursday shooting and setting houses and shops ablaze.
“We had to flee for our dear lives because the gunmen came in troops and there was no security personnel in our locality. We ran across the borders into villages in Niger Republic but seven of our fellow villagers were shot dead and over 60 houses and shops were also burnt down completely. It happened on Thursday at about 7pm, some gunmem invaded our town driving three vehicles and many motorcycles, and drove straight to the market area and began shooting and setting shops ablaze.
“They spent about two hours operating in the town. About eight cars were also burnt. Unfortunately, our town has no security operatives to protect us. Right from Damasak the local government headquarters of Mobbar, through Gashigar and up to Malumfatori town of Abadam local government; there is no single government security personnel guarding or protecting about six villages in between. You should know that from Damasak to Gashigar is about 50km of dusty Sharan desert road and half way before you get to Dusi, there is a feeder road that lead to Damasak near Diffa border town of Niger Republic.
“We are in a state of fear and confusion now, we cannot sleep in the villages here on the Nigerian side. Once dusk begins to set in, everyone locks up and cross the borders to Diffa. Most of us board our canoes and cross over the river boundary and pass the night in Diffa.The attack on us has been very frequent lately, just last week Sunday they attacked the villages of Yawuma-ango and Jabulam at night and killed five persons there; three at Yawuma-ango and two in Jabulam.”
Mr. Gashigar who was in Maiduguri along with some other residents of the attacked village, wanted government to step in and assist the local youth vigilantes who were are currently the main security force manning the area.
“We know the reason for these attack is because our young men had joined the Civilian-JTF and the Boko Haram is not happy about it. Perhaps, that is why they are attacking us in this manner,” he said.