The Nigerian military authorities on Monday ordered the relocation of residents of Jakana village, in Borno State, amidst concerns that Boko Haram insurgents use the community as a hideout.
Jakana, a village 40km west of Maiduguri, is amongst the most attacked communities around the capital city.
Before now, Jakana was acclaimed the most resilient Borno community that had never been displaced by Boko Haram, despite several attacks.
Many have given credit to the people for ”resisting Boko Haram”.
But the most recent attack on the community, after that of December 2018, which occurred in January this year, could not be repelled.
The insurgents came to the community and burnt down the military base as well as a police station there.
According to security officials, the recent resurgence of Boko Haram assaults on the village and its neighbourhood was as a result of alleged collusion of the villagers with the outlawed group. This development has since raised tension.
On Tuesday, several buses filled with evicted residents of Jakana were seen been driven to Bakasi IDP camp where they are to live until the military concludes an ongoing operation to fish out Boko Haram insurgents hiding in the bushes.
Some of the evictees who spoke with journalists at Bakasi IDP camp said they were not given any chance to pick their valuables before they were ordered to leave.
Most of them denied knowledge of colluding with Boko Haram insurgents.
“Only God knows the mind of mankind, but I am not aware of any Boko Haram that is given protection in Jakana,” Modu Babagana, a local trader said.
“We have always given useful information to the security people. But if things change today, maybe it is the fault of some persons who may have infiltrated us from other displaced communities,” he said.
Spokesman of Operation Lafiya Dole, Colonel Ado Isa, who confirmed the development to journalists said the eviction of Jakana was in line with a directive from the Nigeria Army headquarters in Abuja.
“Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Tukur Buratai’s vision was to clear remnants of Boko Haram terrorists in the Maiduguri-Damaturu axis of Borno and Yobe states,” he said.
He said the relocation exercise, “a temporary measure”, was to reduce or avoid collateral damages.
Mr Isa said the relocation of people to the camp, was “to provide them with adequate security, food and shelter.”
The North-east office of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) also confirmed the development.
NEMA zonal public relations officer, Abdulkarim Ibrahim explained why the action was inevitable.
“The residents of Jakana have been evacuated and relocated to Bakassi camp for their safety,” he said. “Yesterday’s relocation was inevitable for military operations to flush out insurgents in the Borno State axis.
“Camp management officials comprising various stakeholders in humanitarian response are mobilising resource(s) for the Jakana residents in camp,” he added.
It is not certain how long the military exercise will take.