Six police officers were killed on Wednesday after when gunmen believed to be Boko Haram fighters attacked Dapchi, a village in Yobe State, Mohammed Goje, the Executive Secretary of Yobe State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA), has said.
Mr Goje told journalists in Damaturu, the Yobe capital, on Thursday that six bodies recovered in the aftermath of the attack were mobile police officers while the identities of two others were yet to be ascertained. The police, military and the vigilantes could not yet lay claim to them.
The SEMA boss and his team were in Dapchi to evacuate the corpses of those slain in the attack.
Dozens of houses were burnt in the attack, PREMIUM TIMES learnt.
Dapchi is a town in Yobe State where schoolgirls were in February 2018 abducted from their dormitory by the Boko Haram. The girls were later released in a deal with the government; but one of the girls, Leah Sharibu, was held back because she reportedly refused to denounce her Christian faith.
Mr Goje said he travelled in a small convoy and the team was accompanied by Goni Bukar, the commissioner for sports and youth development, who hails from Dapchi.
“We have just returned from Dapchi as you can see,” he told journalists.
“We have evacuated eight dead bodies. Six of them could be easily identified as police personnel because they are wearing police uniform. Most of them are MOPOL. The other two bodies I can’t say their identity because either, the soldiers nor vigilante or police could identify them as their members.”
Our reporter sighted the convoy of the SEMA boss as they returned from Dapachi Thursday morning and followed them to the General Sani Abacha Specialist Hospital mortuary where the bodies were deposited.
Mr Goje said he has given instructions for the bodies to be properly kept for proper identification from their families so they could be given a befitting burial.
“We have to evaucate the bodies from the scene because we cannot allow the dead bodies to rot away because these people that are killed have families,” he said.
“We have therefore given instruction at the mortuary that their corpse should be properly taken care of for identification. They deserve befitting burials from their families.”
The Yobe SEMA boss said the insurgents burnt down the military base and a section of the police station in the village. A military vehicle was also torched.
The insurgents made away with one military vehicle, according to reports, and burnt one of the cars belonging to Mr Bukar
The District Head of Dapchi, Yuroma Kamba, who was distraught from the attack called on the government to mobilise massive prayers against the insurgents.
“Prayers should be intensified by all and sundry with government taking the driver’s seat,” he said.
A resident of Dapchi, who escaped to Damaturu, told PREMIUM TIMES that the mobile police officers who paid the supreme price stood to fight the insurgents as both soldiers and vigilantes ran away when they got wind of the impending attack.
“I want to tell you that those mopol that died refused to run away,” he said.
“They stood their ground to fight. All the soldiers in the town left including vigilantes when the news of the attack filtered the town. But those mopol did not run. They engaged Boko Haram and fought to die. May their souls have rest.”
The Boko Haram fighter launched an attack on Dapchi Wednesday night on the security agencies in the village with residents running to the bush for safety.