THE dreaded Boko Haram Islamic sect launched another round of deadly attacks in Borno and Yobe states at the weekend,unleashing a gale of sorrow and tears.
The offensive left two persons dead and several public structures, including a bank and police station, destroyed, through the use of locally made bombs.
About five churches, several shops, a local government secretariat complex and the business office of a bank in Geidam, hometown of the state’s governor, were razed down. The office of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) was also burnt.
Although no casualty was recorded in Geidam, a quiet commercial town of Yobe State, the attacks in Maiduguri, Borno State’s capital, resulted in the killing of a top protocol official, Kala Boro, and a local herbalist, Garba Abdullahi Boka in Gwonge and Fezzan wards respectively. They were both attacked in their homes.
An eyewitness said the gunmen invaded Geidam town at about 5.45p.m. heavily armed, asking scared residents, especially youths, to join them to ensure a successful offensive against ‘enemies of Islam,’ promising that no innocent person would be harmed during the operation that lasted three hours.
Mrs. Hadizah Ibrahim, who witnessed the operation, said: ‘What we witnessed last night (Saturday) was war. It happened around quarter to six in the evening when we began to hear gunshots; they were firing sporadically. Immediately, we concluded that it could be members of Boko Haram. Then, we heard them chanting Allahu Akbar, saying that ‘we are not here to molest innocent Muslim women and children, we are here on Jihad and all youths who want to support the cause of Islam must come out to assist us’.
‘Everywhere was silent, except for the deafening sounds of explosions and continuous gunshots. Later, people, out of fear or out of their free will, came out to join them, pointing out shops and business premises belonging to Christians; that was after we learnt that they had attacked the Police Divisional Headquarters, the local government secretariat and a bank.’
Yobe State’s Secretary of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Mr Peter Ogwuche, who also confirmed the incident, said he could not get across to both the chairman and secretary of CAN in Geidam. ‘But I was able to gather from various church members that fled the town to Damaturu this morning (yesterday), that about five churches were destroyed.’
Another eyewitness said no single police man was seen in the street throughout the period of the attacks until around 9p.m. when some soldiers, who were deployed to Damaturu three weeks ago when the Boko Haram attacked the state capital, later showed up in the town. But at that time, the sect members were said to have left.