The Nigerian Army on Sunday reacted to the daring Boko Haram attack on a military base and neighbouring communities in Guzamala Local Government Area.
The army said its officers regrouped and have restored total normalcy in Gundubali and other neighbouring communities in Guzamala.
PREMIUM TIMES reported the attack on the military base and surrounding communities by Boko Haram insurgents on Saturday.
The attack was first confirmed to journalists by the Borno State Deputy Governor, Usman Durkwa.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that scores of jihadists in gun trucks and various caliber of arms, stormed the town and engaged in fierce battle that lasted for many hours with the troops.
Texas Chukwu, Director Army Public Relations, in a statement in Maiduguri, said combined troops of 82 Division Task Force Brigade and 158 Task Force Battalion involved in the counter-insurgency operations had encounter with the Boko Haram insurgents in Gudumbali.
“The encounter took place when the insurgents attacked the community, set some buildings ablaze and quickly withdrew from the community.
“However, no human casualty was recorded in the encounter,” Mr Chukwu said.
He added that “The troops have regrouped and normalcy have been restored. The troops have also been reinforced with additional troops to dominate the general area.
“It will be recalled that Gudumbali is one of the communities in Borno that were recently reoccupied by Internally Displaced Persons who had voluntarily returned to their ancestral homes.
“The people of Gudumbali community and Guzamala Local Government in general are urged to remain calm and resilient as Operation Lafiya Dole troops tirelessly combat the terrorists.
“They are also implored to maintain high level of vigilance and monitor strange faces to prevent fleeing Boko Haram terrorists from infiltrating and hibernating in their communities.
“The good people of the North East are assured of the unalloyed resolve of troops of Operation Lafiya Dole to continue to combat the Boko Haram terrorists in the region,” Mr Chukwu, a brigadier general, said.
In his reaction to the attack, the Commander Sector 3 of Operation Lafiya Dole, Uwem Bassey, lauded troops for repelling the Boko Haram attack on the military base on Saturday.
Mr Chukwu quoted Mr Bassey as commending the troops during an assessment visit to Gundumbali.
“The commander urged the troops to continue to remain courageous while confronting the insurgents,” he said.
Mr Chukwu provided more details of the incident. He said the insurgents came to extort, terrorise law abiding citizens as well as to attack the military base in the town.
However, they met a serious resistance by the gallant troops, he said.
He did not disclose the figure of casualty or injuries sustained from both parties during the attack.
“The troops inflicted overwhelming casualty on the terrorists due to superior fire power while some of the terrorists fled to the fringes of Lake Chad,” he said.
According to him, efforts are on by the troops to get other fleeing members of the terrorists group.
He advised locals in the area to be vigilant and carry out their legitimate businesses in their communities as well as report any suspicious movements or activities to the nearest military base.
NAN reports that the residents of Magumeri were yet to recover from the panic caused by Saturday’s attack, as many of them have relocated to Gubio and Monguno.
About 2,000 IDPs comprising of 200 households had returned to Guzamala to resettle and resume their traditional occupation of farming and fishing, as well as other socio-economic activities earlier this year. The army also built a cenotaph in the town to remember over 100 soldiers killed by Boko Haram in a battle in the town in 2014.
The Saturday attack is the first since the residents return to the liberated community was celebrated in July.
Bukar Mele, who escaped from the fighting, told NAN that the attackers invaded the town unexpectedly and asked the villagers to run away for their lives.
Mr Mele said he immediately took his family and began running just as they (Boko Haram) instructed the residents, leaving behind his belongings.
“They told us in Kanuri to vacate the place so that what they came to do will not affect us. So we all took to our heels in different directions for safety,’’ he said.
Abdul Bari, another local in the area, said the insurgents assured that they did not come with intention to kill civilians.
“Their target was the military and not civilians. This is what they told us as they ask us to get out of their sight within a blink of an eye. The insurgents were fully kitted with khaki and covered their faces.
“After one minute, they began shooting from the gun truck facing the military location. There were sounds of sporadic gunshots from many directions. I don’t know what happened but the army was engaging with the terrorists,” he said.
The mode of the attack where insurgents decline to attack civilians is typical of the Boko Haram faction led by Abu-Musab Al-Barnawi.
The Al-Barnawi faction mainly targets security forces but also kidnaps civilians to raise funds through ransom.
The faction is believed to have been responsible for the kidnap of scores of girls from their school in Dapchi, Yobe State. One of the girls, Leah Sharibu, is still with the terror group after she reportedly refused to denounce her Christian faith when others were released after negotiations with government.
The Al-Barnawi faction is different from that led by Abubakar Shekau which randomly attacks both civilian and military targets at will.