A heavy rainfall late Monday night helped hundreds of residents of Gwoza, Borno State, who had been trapped on the mountains to escape to a safe haven, PREMIUM TIMES has learnt.
Two of the escapees included the Emir of Gwoza, Muhammed Timta, and a district head in the town, Hakimi Ibrahim.
The residents had been trapped on the mountain since Wednesday when Boko Haram insurgents ran over the town, killing scores of people and burning virtually every building including the police station, the local government secretariat, and the emir’s palace.
Hundreds of those that escaped managed to climb the rocky mountain that borders Cameroon and Adamawa, with many killed by the insurgents while trying to climb the mountain.
The Boko Haram sect has since taken over Gwoza, and foiled at least two attempts by Nigerian soldiers to retake the town. They also surrounded the foot of the mountain to prevent those trapped from escaping.
The trapped residents however took advantage of the heavy rainfall on Monday night, which had made their attackers scamper to covered areas.
The residents escaped from the mountains to nearby Madagali Local Government in Adamawa State.
A family member of one of the escapees, Hajia Amina, told PREMIUM TIMES that the residents, including the Emir of Gwoza, were as at Tuesday morning being moved to a refugee camp in Uba, a border community between Adamawa and Borno.
The immediate past Commissioner for Commerce and Industry in Borno (the state executive council was dissolved last week), Asabe Vilita, also confirmed the escape of some of the trapped Gwoza residents to PREMIUM TIMES.
The immediate past Emir of Gwoza, Mr. Timta’s father, was in May killed by the Boko Haram sect which has killed over 13,000 people in northern Nigeria since its insurgency began in 2009.