Residents of Garkida town in the Gombi Local Government Area of Adamawa State were on Sunday fleeing the area, following a fresh threat by the Boko Haram insurgents to attack the town.
A resident of Garkida, in an interview with the Hausa service of the British Broadcasting Corporation, monitored in Kaduna on Sunday, said the insurgents had threatened to launch another attack on the town.
Also residents, in separate interviews with The PUNCH on Sunday, recounted their ordeals when the insurgents attacked the community on Friday.
They lamented that the military did not come to their rescue.
For six hours on Friday night, Boko Haram insurgents attacked Garkida, which is located on the Gombi-Biu-Damaturu road.
During the attack, the insurgents burnt down a police barracks, a police station, two churches; the Living Faith Church and the Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria (Church of the Brethren in Nigeria).
Vehicles abandon town
The resident, who spoke to the BBC Hausa Service, said many residents had fled the community on foot, noting that even with money, there was no vehicle plying the area.
The source said, “Many have fled on foot. Even if you have the money, there are no vehicles because of the high number of people on the run now. Everybody is scared because the Boko Haram sent a new message that they are coming back.”
Police seek hunters’ assistance
But the Adamawa State Police Command said there was the need to engage local hunters in the fight against the insurgents.
The Police Public Relations Officers in the state, Suleiman Ngoroji, said the local hunters had knowledge of the terrain that the police did not have
Ngoroji, who also spoke on the Hausa Service of the BBC, noted that the local hunters could show the police all entry and exit points in the area. He said, “Hunters who reside in the locality know the terrain” better.
The police spokesman also said security operatives(police) could succeed if the residents volunteered to expose strange faces amongst them.
Military didn’t not come to our rescue, Garkida residents recount ordeals
Meanwhile, some residents of the town on Sunday criticised the military’s handling of the attack by the insurgents.
They said there was a delay in the deployment of troops when the town was being attacked by the insurgents.
The Public Relations Officer, 23rd Armoured Brigade, Major Haruna Sani, had commended the troops of 232 Battalion of 23 Armoured Brigade under Operation Lafiya Dole.
He said the troops, who were deployed in Garkida, eliminated many insurgents, while others (insurgents) fled
However, a resident, Esther Garnvwa, who is a member of the EYN, said the insurgents operated unhindered for many hours.
She said, “No single insurgent was killed in Garkida. The insurgents also deliberately didn’t want to kill civilians, only three persons, including a girl, sustained bullet wounds. Others got injured because they were frightened into running helter-skelter.
Angry residents wondered why the military did not send troops to the town on time thus allowing the terrorists to operate till 3am on Saturday. “Where is the air force if the ground troops are overwhelmed?”
Military did not stop attack despite intelligence reports – Lawmaker
The lawmaker representing the Gombi constituency in the state House of Assembly, Japhet Kefas, confirmed to The PUNCH that many residents of Garkida were fleeing the town.
He said the people were leaving because of the government’s inability to protect their lives and property.
He said despite intelligence that the insurgents were sighted heading for Garkida since 2pm on Friday before they eventually struck the town at 6pm and operated unhindered for close to seven hours, no action was allegedly taken by the military to stop the attack.
He said, “It is true people are fleeing Garkida because they are afraid government is weak and has failed to protect the lives and property of the people. Only five soldiers were stationed in the area used by the insurgents and they killed three of the soldiers. Yesterday (Saturday) two of the corpses were evacuated. But today (Sunday) we found one of the corpses of the soldiers by the stream. “
He also noted that residents of the area, during the state Governor, Ahmadu Fintiri’s visit to the town on Sunday protested the alleged failure of the military to forestall the Friday attack.
He said the governor had ordered the deployment of 200 vigilantes in the town, following reports that the insurgents planned to attack the community again.
Kefas explained that part of the demands of the protesting youths was that the military be withdrawn from the town. He added that they wanted mobile policemen instead.
Police probe bandits’ N1m demand from Katsina villagers to forestall attacks
In Katsina State, the police said they were investigating a message allegedly sent to Akata village in the Batsari Local Government Area asking the villagers to pay N1m to prevent being attacked.
The spokesman for the Katsina police command, Gambo Isah, commenting on the threat on a WhatsApp platform, posted, ‘’We are investigating. We are not leaving any stone unturned. And no amount of information is small.”
Isha, in his response to an SM sent to him by one of our correspondents, on Sunday, said, “I am verifying,”
But the Special Adviser on Security to the state Governor, Ibraheem Katsina, said on Sunday that the issue had been resolved.
He said, “We have been able to trace the origins of the threat through our community policing strategy and I can tell you we have resolved the issue.
Insecurity in Nigeria: Buhari town emir orders fasting in Daura emirate
The Emir of Daura, Dr Faruq Faruq, on Sunday directed that a day fasting be observed today (Monday) by people in the Daura emirate council over the state of insecurity in Nigeria.
The Emir gave the directive in a statement signed on his behalf by the spokesman for the Daura Emirate Council, Mallam Usman Ibrahim.
The statement, which was read on a Katsina local radio station (Companion FM), urged people to use the fasting period to pray for security and for peace in Nigeria.
Again Buhari promises aggressive campaign against insurgents
The President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), on Sunday commented on the Garkida attack. He promised on Sunday that his regime would launch an aggressive campaign to end Boko Haram within weeks.
A State House statement by his media aide, Mr Garba Shehu, said the President assured Nigerians that “in the coming weeks, Nigerians would witness an aggressive campaign to rout Boko Haram once and for all.”
By: John Ameh, Olaleye Aluko, Godwin Isenyo, Olaide Oyelude, Hindi Livinus and Maiharaji Altine