How I survived fatal attack by bandits – Emir

Emir of Potiskum addressing his subject after return from attack. PHOTO JOE HEMBA
Emir of Potiskum addressing his subject after return from attack. PHOTO JOE HEMBA

After a few days at the hospital, following a fatal attack on his convoy along Kaduna-Zaria road, the Emir of Potiskum, Umaru Bauya, on Friday, returned to his palace in Yobe State.

The emir addressed many of his subject at his palace amidst strong emotions as he recounted his horrific experience in the attack.

The monarch, who spoke to PREMIUM TIMES in his palace, called on his subjects to pray for the souls of his aides he lost in the attack.

PREMIUM TIMES reported how four of the emir’s aides were among the 30 people killed in the attack.

About 100 people were also killed in the attack.

The emir said he was specifically pained that he had to trek in the bush for almost two hours, trying to escape from the sporadic gun duel that lasted for about the same time.

He also called on citizens to take the issue of security as their first business.

The Secretary to the Yobe State Government, Baba Wali, led the state government delegation, which included the Acting Head of the State Civil Service, Mohamed Nura, and some members of the State Executive Council, to commiserate with the Emir.

The emir, who likened the attack to a battle field, narrated that the gun shots, which lasted for about two hours, forced him to continue trekking into the bush until he got far from the sounds. It was also where he passed the night.

According to him, the gunshots were unbelievable and he could not understand the motive of the attack. He decided to sleep in the bush so as not to fall prey to the attackers, even when security came to fetch him from the bush around 2.00 a.m.

He disclosed that one of his aides was still missing and his whereabouts was still unknown.

The distraught and visibly worried monarch called on the people not to withhold information, but fish out criminals among them, by reporting them to security agents.

He thanked God for surviving the attack, and prayed for the repose of his deceased aides.

Emir’s Words

“Thanks, be to almighty Allah for sparing our lives. First, the experience we had was after Jazi. There was a commotion. We stopped and after about twenty minutes, the traffic continued to flow from both ways and we felt the road was cleared.

“We moved for about one or two kilometers and discovered that they have mounted some roadblocks and we felt they had left. But, (after) a few movements again, we noticed a slowing down of vehicles and there was a traffic congestion.

“At that point, we started feeling some uneasiness, because the situation was becoming dangerous. The traffic was so chaotic that one could not move forward or backward. Then, the sound of gunshots erupted. The gunshots were unbelievable. It was just like a war field. Instantly, I saw my pilot driver swerve and then hit a standing vehicle. I suspected the shooting affected him and the police around him.

“As the shooting was going on, we decided to abandon our vehicles and take to safety. God in His infinite mercy led me to escape the danger zone. The gunshots continued for almost two hours. I continued trekking into the bush until when the sound of the guns was a bit far off from me. That is how I found myself. It’s God mercy that helped me to escape the danger zone.

“I was in the bush all the time the shooting was going on. The shooting started around 11.00 pm and did not stop until around 1.00 am the following day. I decided to remain in the bush up till morning. The security people started to come for me and other groups around 2.00 am but I refused to come out at the time because, I did not know the objective of the attack.

“I stayed in the bush because I may fall prey to the attack. I stayed in the bush until morning when the security came back. They took me to the hospital for medical checkup.

“I thank the medical doctor who is in charge of that hospital. He checked me and reported that I do not have any injury. He gave me treatment and until my fatigue was down. I told them I want to leave but they reluctantly released me to leave.

“I am very grateful to Kaduna State government, the hospital that took care of us and the security operatives. I was well comforted, so I did not develop any trauma. I didn’t even know about the death of my people until yesterday morning when the news was brought to me that I lost four of my people in that skirmish. Some of my policemen also sustained gunshots but were treated at the hospital.

“The issue of security is not only the responsibility of the federal government alone. It is everybody’s responsibility because no one knows when his own time will come.

“Both Muslims and Christian need to pray fervently as well as support the security agencies by identifying suspected movements. When we are able to detect these kind of people around us, then we report them to security agencies.

“We cannot withhold information from the security agencies and expect them to perform magic. It is only the people in the community that can assist the security agencies, informing all suspected movement around them, then the federal government and all other levels of government will work smoothly,” the emir said.

PREMIUM TIMES reported that the emir’s convoy ran into armed gangs on Tuesday night along Kaduna/Zaria highway. Four of his aides were killed.

The burial of the four aides was held on Wednesday at the Emir’s palace, amidst tears.

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