More facts have emerged on Wednesday night’s attack by Boko Haram on Geidam town in Yobe State.
PREMIUM TIMES findings reveal that the suspected Boko Haram terrorists plotted a successful decoy and infiltrated the town, after parking their vehicles at the outskirts of the town before entering the community by foot.
It was also gathered that the insurgents planted themselves at strategic locations as the Geidam market was bubbly, with a coordinated plan, waiting until the time was ripe for them to strike.
Narrating the plan of the insurgents, the State Police Public Relation Officer, Dungus Abdulkarim, said the insurgents were sighted at around 1pm and the rumour went fast and almost disrupted the market activities as people tried to run away.
However, they decided to discard the rumours and went back to their activities in the market, unknown to everyone that Boko Haram members were executing another plan to attack.
“Around 1 pm, the insurgents were sighted at the outskirts of Geidam. The rumour spread throughout the market and people started running out. But between the hours of 2.30 pm nothing happened and people re-converged at the market and started carrying out their normal business activities. But the security agents were on red alert.
“Unknown to the community, Boko Haram abandoned their vehicles at the outskirts of the town and entered by foot and pinned down at strategic locations until about 5.30pm. They started attacking the town and went straight to the house of the District Head and abducted him. They now went to the house of the former chairman and set it ablaze, while the other one(s) launched attacks on shops, (carting) away food and medicine,” Mr Abdulkarim said.
While giving other details of the attack, the police spokesperson said, “A stray bullet hit a little girl and she is admitted at the general hospital for treatment and she is responding.
“They also went to one Lawani House but couldn’t enter. Probably they thought he was not inside again or they decided to just leave him, we don’t know.
“We have a Hilux vehicle burnt with two people, in our possession now. My police are saying they are Boko Haram but we are not certain about that. There are two persons burnt in the vehicle.
“Those nurses were not abducted but they were used by the insurgents to give quick treatment to their members that were wounded. After the treatment, they were not taken away so you cannot say that was an abduction. This is what I gathered from the police’s detailed investigation.”
Governor Buni orders support for victims
In the wake of the attack and the damage caused to shop owners and residents of Geidam, the state governor, Mala Buni, has ordered the State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA) to move into Geidam and provide immediate livelihood support to victims, as well as take assessment of the destruction.
In a statement signed by the spokesperson of the governor, Mamman Mohammed, he commiserated with the people of Geidam over the incident, which he described as “unfortunate”.
“The attack came at a time when there is general improvement in peace and security across the state.
“The general improvement in security and support provided by (the) government has given our people the opportunity to gradually resettle and reclaim their means of livelihood,” the statement said.
The governor was also quoted as saying that, “the attack would not deter (the) government in its efforts to rebuild, reconstruct and rehabilitate communities initially destroyed by insurgency.
He commended the people of the state for their resilience and determination to rebuild their lives and move forward.
The statement also assured that “The government and People of Yobe state would continue to partner with the security agencies for the full return of peace and security across the state”.
The Executive Secretary, SEMA Dr Mohammed Goje, said the agency had commenced stock taking of the damages caused during the attack.
“In line with the directives of His Excellency the Executive Governor of Yobe State, Hon. Mai Mala Buni, l am leading the team to Geidam to assess the situation and see areas in need of immediate intervention to provide succour to the people,” Mr Goje said.
Army launches operation TURA TAKAIBANGO
Meanwhile, the Nigerian Army on Thursday launched a fresh Operation, TURA TAKAIBANGO, against Boko Haram.
The move came after the military came under heavy criticism, the recent of which was from the former governor of Borno State, Kashim Shettima, now a serving senator.
The Operation, which is named in Hausa language, could be literally translated as “pushed to the wall”.
The new operation is expected to tackle the emerging threats and renewed offensive of BTH/ISWAP in the northeast region.
The Chief of Training and Operations Nigerian Army, NE Angbazo, who represented the Chief of Army Staff, TY Buratai, at the maiden press briefing to mark the official launching of the operation at the 27 Brigade Tactical Headquarters Buni Gari, Yobe State, said the operation will smoke the insurgents from their hideouts and neutralise them.
“Operation TUKA TAKAIBANGO has become more expedient as it will boost the efforts by troops of the Theatre Command Operation Lafiya Dole to enable the Nigeria Army to deal with the emerging threats of the BHT/ISWAP with the North eastern part of the country. The operation is meant to be theatre wide, targeting known insurgents’ enclaves/hideouts for neutralization and clearance. At the end of the operation, it is envisaged that citizens will be free to move about, conduct their farming and other businesses in a safe and secured atmosphere devoid of any insurgents’ threat and harassment,” Mr Angbazo explained.
Mr Angbazo also called on the rural people not to panic during the course of the operation, as according to him, “the safety and wellbeing of the innocent and law abiding citizens especially those living in the rural areas have been deliberately factored in the planning of this operation.”
He added that “the troops taking part in the operation would be guided by the professional Code of Conduct, Rules of Engagement and respect for human rights”, while the general public is enjoined to remain vigilant of fleeing suspected terrorists and criminals trying to find safe heavens within the communities from military operation”.
Mr Angbazo announced that the operation started on January 3, and has already started achieving results.
Some of the results, according to him, are the encounter between troops of 402 Special Forces Brigade and some Boko Haram elements on January 6, where the insurgents suffered a heavy defeat and a successful repelling of the insurgents at Geidam yesterday.
The army training chief noted that the upsurge of the activities of BHT/ISWAP which has exposed civilians leading to abduction of travelers along Damaturu -Maiduguri road and Damaturu-Biu road has made it expedient for the army to launch the operation.
He commended the cooperation the army has received from the Commander-in-Chief, President Muhammadu Buhari, adding that it has “significantly enhanced the capacity, combat effectiveness and morale of troops”.
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