Boko Haram fighters killed three civilians in a pre-dusk attack in Rann, Borno State, on Thursday, triggering fresh concerns about the security arrangement in a community the military said had been fortified following repeated havoc on its civilian population.
The insurgents also carted away unascertained quantity of food and medical supplies before setting the rest ablaze in the attack targeted at a market and a health centre run by the United Nations, military sources told PREMIUM TIMES.
Although there are military outposts in the community, the terrorists aimed the attack on killing and plundering resources amongst civilians, in what seemed a foraging mission that marked a noticeable shift in strategy from the recent onslaughts targeted almost exclusively at military assets.
The Nigerian Army responded timely to the attack, which occurred at about 6:00 p.m., forcing the insurgents back into their hideouts, military sources said. It was not immediately clear whether soldiers were able to neutralise some of the militants, but sources said they were able to get away with the stolen items.
The attack has raised new fears about the vulnerability of Rann, a community that houses one of the largest camps of the internally-displaced victims of the nearly 10-year-old insurgency.
The Daily Trust reported Friday that the United Nations has implemented evacuation of some aid workers from Rann in the wake of the attack, although a spokesperson for the world diplomacy body could not immediately confirm the statement to PREMIUM TIMES Saturday afternoon.
The village earned worldwide sympathy when the Nigerian Air Force said it mistakenly dropped a massive explosive on civilians taken shelter in the IDP camp there in January 2017, killing around 170 civilians.
Boko Haram compounded the security misery of Rann residents when its fighters targeted humanitarian facilities earlier this year, kidnapping some Red Cross staff members in an overnight raid. Two of the aid workers, Saifura Khorsa and Hauwa Liman, were killed in September and October, respectively.
The Nigerian government responded to the attacks with outrage, and promised the military would be adequately supported to prevent further devastating attacks in Rann and its surrounding communities, which, like most others in Borno State, have sustained the brunt of the insurgency.
The Defence Headquarters and the Nigerian Army did not return separate enquiries seeking comments about the latest security breach in the community.
Insurgents also returned to Jakana
In a separate attack on December 7, Boko Haram fighters also stormed Jakana, about 25 kilometres from Maiduguri, the state capital. The town is along Maiduguri-Damaturu Highway.
Details of the attack were still hazy as of Saturday morning, but military sources said it occurred around 6:15 p.m. and soldiers swiftly responded to prevent a carnage.
Jakana was attacked on July 26 by Boko Haram, whose thugs killed policemen, soldiers and civilians, while still managing to escape with massive food items from the town.