At least 400 members of the Boko Haram have in the past two days been killed by soldiers in Borno State following repeated attempts by the insurgents to invade Konduga Village, officials and residents have said.
Konduga is about 35 km from Maiduguri and the insurgents are believed to want a base in Konduga from which they can attack Maiduguri, the Borno State capital.
PREMIUM TIMES had last week reported how Boko Haram terrorists were successfully repelled by Nigerian troops during an attack on Konduga leading to the death of about 200 insurgents.
The insurgents, who appear bent on taking over the agrarian community, Tuesday night, attempted another attack on the community. They appear to have been defeated again as the soldiers stationed there effectively foiled the attack and killed about 250 of them, a member of the vigilante called ‘civilian JTF’, Bashir Abbas, told PREMIUM TIMES.
Mr. Abbas is sometimes embedded with soldiers during battles against insurgents.
Full details of the attack, third in Konduga, which lasted till early hours of Wednesday is yet to be gotten.
A top official of the Department of Security Services, who doesn’t want to be named as he is not permitted to speak, confirmed the attack.
Konduga was not the only place the insurgents attacked in the early hours of Wednesday. An attack on Ngamdu Village, about 100km from Maiduguri, was also repelled by the soldiers leading to the death of scores of the terrorists.
Mr. Abbas told journalists in Maiduguri that the Tuesday Konduga attack, just like the previous one that took place on Friday, was forewarned.
“We all were aware of the Tuesday night attack and the soldiers tactically mobilised another ambush for them”, he said. “As it has been in their past strategy, they (Boko Haram) would divide themselves into three groups and tactically they would send the first group to face the military to create a distraction for them to strike from behind.”
“But unknown to them the soldiers had also strategically taken cover and were waiting for them; and all of them were circled.
“On getting to middle of the town, the military opened fire on them, killing over 250; they were able to recover one armoured personnel carrier, three vehicles mounted with anti-aircraft guns, as well as several motorcycles and ammunitions,” he said.
He added that “after the military successfully crushed the first group, the second group appeared followed by the third group, but they were all crushed by the military assisted by our members”.
Mr. Abbas also linked the Ngamdu attack to plans by the group to attack Maiduguri.
“On Wednesday morning,” he said “the gunmen mobilised some of their members from around Yobe axis with the intention of crossing over to Konduga but were intercepted by soldiers who acted on a tip off. They confronted them with yet another ambush attack that got about 150 of them killed in Ngamdu Village”.
He said the military recovered an armoured tank, several Hilux vehicles that were mounted with anti-aircraft guns, as well other ammunitions from the killed terrorists.
A farmer in Konduga, Abu’ar Yale, also told journalists in Maiduguri that “during the second attack (in a week) on Konduga on Tuesday, the terrorists arrived in very large numbers – about 500 of them.
“But the soldiers had successfully repelled them by killing many of them and recovered armoured tanks, vehicles, motorcycles among others.”
Narrating his experience while driving through Ngamdu, a bus driver, Isa Garba, told journalists that “on our way from Damaturu to Maiduguri yesterday in the morning we were stopped by the military and asked to make u-turn back to Damaturu because the highway was under attack.
“We waited for hours at the outskirts of Damaturu until later when we were later allowed to proceed with our journey to Maiduguri. We saw several corpses of Boko Haram gunmen up to about 100 lying all over sides of the road, and the soldiers were there too watching”.
As news of the Konduga incident spread, residents of Maiduguri, the Borno State capital, were jubilant on Wednesday on sighting some of the triumphant soldiers accompanied by about three main combat tanks. The tanks were said to have been recovered from the Boko Haram terrorists and were driven into the Maiduguri military barracks. All the armoured tanks had Arabic inscriptions, translated to mean “there is no god but Allah”.
A soldier in Maiduguri told PREMIUM TIMES that some of the tanks that were seized by the Boko Haram terrorists from soldiers had no firing pin at the time they were taken.
“But surprisingly, the insurgents improvised the missing part by using wheels of motorcycles that were connected to the firing components of tankers. Then the improvised firing pin made from the wheels would be powered by a small generating plant that rolls the wheels and spits out bullets just like the ‘ShellCar tank’,” he said.
“Whoever gave them that excellent technical idea must be an expert because the improvisation now gives the combat tanks to function effectively even if the engine of the main machine was not working,” said the private who did not want to be quoted to avoid the wrath of his superiors.
The Boko Haram who had taken few communities in Borno and Adamawa States have caused the death of over 13,000 people since their insurgency began in 2009. The attacks on communities have continued despite the declaration of a state of emergency in Adamawa, Borno, and Yobe since May last year.