Troops engage Boko Haram in Damaturu for hours
Benue SEMA urges FG to suspend withdrawal of OPWS
Troops of Operation Lafiya Dole have repelled Boko Haram attacks on Damaturu along Gashua road, forcing many residents and motorists to take cover in houses and military posts.
The three-hour duel followed exchange of gunshots and artillery fire that pushed the terrorists towards Sasawa Forest, the main hide-out of terrorists in Yobe State.
Spokesman of Sector II, Operation Lafiya Dole, Capt. Njoka Irabor, disclosed this yesterday in Damaturu, the state capital.Residents rushed into their houses and businesses closed hurriedly on Sunday evening while the troops engaged the fleeing terrorists.
“The insurgents made an attempt to enter Damaturu along Gashua road yesterday (Sunday) afternoon, but troops repelled them with heavy aerial and ground bombardments for about three hours,” he said, adding that everything had come under control.While the attack on Damaturu occurred, scores of vehicles trying to get to the town were stranded as the army blocked the roads leading into the town.
Witnesses said that over 200 vehicles were stranded, including the Borno State governor’s convoy, at the Damaturu entrance along Maiduguri road. Meanwhile, Benue State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA) has appealed to the Federal Government to suspended withdrawal of Operation Whirl Stroke (OPWS) until the coast is clear for the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) to return home.
The executive secretary, Dr. Emmanuel Shior, made the appeal while distributing food items to the IDPs for the Christmas and New Year celebrations.
He said more than 483,000 persons displaced in the herdsmen and farmers crisis were yet to return, expressing worry over what he described as negligence by the Federal Government to ensure the return of the IDPs.
According to him, the Federal Government, through Vice President Yemi Osinbanjo, had promised to released N10 billion to the states ravaged by the herdsmen crisis, but was yet to do so.He noted that failure of the Federal Government to release the money had put so much weight on the state’s lean resources.“We urged the Federal Government to rather post security to some of the villages that are prone to the herdsmen attack,” he added.