At least four persons were killed on Tuesday evening in Molai and Bukarti villages after gunmen suspected to be Boko Haram attacked the outskirts of Maiduguri, the Borno State capital, residents said.
PREMIUM TIMES Tuesday reported an attack by suspected Boko Haram insurgents, who reportedly embedded themselves in a convoy of travellers being escorted by armed soldiers to Maiduguri from Damboa town.
Upon approaching the outskirts of Maiduguri, the insurgents attacked, using a car bomb and several armed men. They inflicted damages on the convoy and injured some soldiers escorting the travellers.
The General Officer Commanding (GOC) 7, Division of the Nigeria Army, Ibrahim Biu, confirmed the incident in a report by NAN but insisted that the attack was repelled “and Maiduguri was not under attack.”
But, from PREMIUM TIMES’ findings from residents in Molai, the military commander was not accurate with details of what actually transpired.
Bulama Aji, a resident of Molai, confirmed that the attack “did not only inflict grave casualty on civilians but also led to the loss of property for both the residents of Molai and the military.”
“They attacked and destroyed “NEPA” (power transmission station) and took away the military gun truck stationed there. They killed two persons in Maibukarti village, not far away from Molai. And then, they killed two people in Molai, one of them was a mad man.
“They burnt the entire Molai market and many houses were also torched before the insurgents left,” he said.
Another source in Molai, who did not want to be named, said when the attack started, “even the soldiers took to their heels, that’s why the insurgents attacked and easily took away the gun truck stationed at NEPA.”
What Army Said
In the report published by NAN, the GOC, Mr Biu, said: “Troops neutralised a number of the insurgents and repelled the attack.”
“The insurgents came and fired some shots but troops engaged and repelled them. Some disgruntled elements are peddling misleading information that Maiduguri is under attack. How can Maiduguri be under attack when we already repelled them?
“They attempted to infiltrate Moloi village in the outskirts of Maiduguri but they were immediately countered. As I speak to you now, I am standing in Molai village. Troops are exploiting the area in hot pursuit of the fleeing insurgents,” he said.
Meanwhile, villagers of Molai and Bukarti, who are still concerned about how the insurgents managed to join a military-escorted convoy in such large numbers without being spotted, said they were yet to spot the corpse of a Boko Haram member, which the soldiers claimed they have “neutralised.”
The Boko Haram insurgency, now in its tenth year, has claimed thousands of lives and crippled economic activities in more than a dozen local government areas of Borno State.