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‘How we sought refuge from terrorists’ attack on Adamawa hill’


A police station, one of the buildings torched by insurgents in Yemirshika town on Saturday night.

As the world was celebrating Christmas, suspected Boko Haram terrorists in 10 gun trucks, at the weekend, attacked six communities and killed dozens of residents in Borno and Adamawa states.

The three-day coordinated attacks occurred in Shaffa, Mandara/Ngrau, Tashan Alade (port of pigs), Debro, Tirgitu and Garkida in Adamawa State.

Garkida had been severally attacked in the last two years with the destruction of lives and property, including the country home of the North East Development Commission (NEDC) chairman, Maj-Gen. Paul Tarfa (rtd).

Some Garkida residents, on Saturday night, had fled to take refuge on the only hilltop in the south fringe of Sambisa Forest.


While narrating their ordeal to newsmen yesterday in Maiduguri, Hamidu Ambursa said: “The insurgents surged out from the forest in gun trucks in the early hours of Friday. They were chanting God is great in Arabic, while firing into our community, street by street, before torching several churches and vehicles, including targeted houses in the town.”

He said three months ago, the insurgents attacked a military post and killed a soldier along with five other residents. He added that they had no option but to flee to the hilltop.

According to him, the hill enabled fleeing residents to ‘watch and monitor’ the number of houses and churches torched by the terrorists for three hours while the attack lasted.

He noted that it was the old and sick that were trapped in the towns. They were left to watch how Garkida town was attacked.

While lamenting the incessant attacks, he said: “The suspected terrorists rode in 10 Toyota Hilux gun trucks. They were first sighted in Mandara/Ngrau village on Saturday by 1:00p.m. on the 187km Maiduguri/Biu road. The insurgents also drove unchallenged through the six communities shooting sporadically to scare residents away.

“In each community, the terrorists, after scaring the people with gun shots for half an hour, looted food items, drugs and fuel on the road side, before torching the houses and churches,” he said, adding that there were standby pickup vans to carry the looted items.

Continuing, he said: “For fear of attacks, farmers in remote villages resorted to storing their harvested produce in rented stores in Biu town, the council headquarters in Borno. Biu is fully secured by troops and there were no attacks launched by terrorists since July 2009.”

On whether there were responses from the military, he said: “Despite our distress calls to the military, the terrorists were not repelled.”

The Guardian also learnt that the terrorists had been launching attacks all through last week. “They stormed Chibok village on Christmas eve. The villagers were conducting carol songs when Boko Haram attacked and they were made to flee that night into nearby bushes. Saturday’s attack is the third in three days with no response from the military.”

Boko Haram and a splinter group known as the Islamic State of West Africa Province (ISWAP) have launched a series of attacks in Nigeria for over a decade.

According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, over 30,000 people have been killed with the displacement of about three million in the northeast.


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