Nigeria: Damaturu-Biu road inaccessible after series of militant attacks

Nigerian troops have closed the only relatively safe highway that leads to Biu Local Government Area in Borno State from Damaturu, the capital of Yobe State, following a series of attacks and destruction. kidnappings on the road by Boko Haram insurgents.

A credible source revealed to LEADERSHIP on Sunday that the terrorists struck again last week when some special security agents deployed in Buni Gari went on a cleaning patrol in the axis.

Although it has been learned that a Nigerian police station and a military base in the area were razed in a recent attack. LEADERSHIP Sunday could not confirm the number of casualties recorded by troops at press time.

While some locals said the army was denying them access to the road, the Nigerian army was wary of providing information on the reasons for the road closure.

When LEADERSHIP Sunday contacted Army Public Relations Director Brig. General Onyema Nwachukwu for clarification, he said he was unaware of the development, promising to make discoveries.

But when contacted a second time, the army spokesman said it was not a matter he could talk about.

However, an army spokesman in Yobe said the army had not cordoned off the road, suggesting only that there was a big opportunity on the axis yesterday.

Lt. Kennedy Anyawu, deputy director of Army public relations who provided the clarification yesterday, said the event and the ensuing traffic could be the reason for the temporary closure.

It is not yet known how long the closure will last, however, but motorists said they had been stopped using the road since the penultimate Wednesday evening after some passengers were kidnapped.

During last week’s attack, the terrorists used heavy weapons to destroy some security equipment and patrolled the community to prevent the reinforcement of soldiers. But the troops ashore still came out and engaged them.

Shortly after the abductions, the Yobe State Police Command confirmed the abduction of Babagana Kachalla, Deputy Headmaster of Buni Yadi Central Primary School, and a few others by gunmen in the village. of Madiya, in the Gujba local government area of ​​the state.

Command spokesman Dungus Abdulkarim confirmed the incident in a statement made available to LEADERSHIP on Sunday in Damaturu, the capital of Yobe State.

Abdulkarim, a deputy superintendent of police, listed the other kidnapping victims to include Abubakar Barma, Haruna Barma, Modu Bukar and Hajiya Gana.

He said the incident, which happened around 8:20 a.m. on Tuesday, was reported to the area divisional police station by one Mala Boyema at around 10:37 a.m. The spokesperson said Mr Boyema fortunately escaped being abducted by heavily armed insurgents when he ran into their roadblock in Madiya.

According to him, the deputy director, Babagana Kachalla Gana, was later released by the suspected Boko Haram members.

Another Buni Yadi resident said the abduction victims included Mallam Bah’ana, Mallam Murwana and Haruna Barma Mutai, one of the senior staff of the Department of Public Buildings in the state Ministry of Housing and Urban Development. .

The attacks and kidnappings have followed a pattern on the same highway since July 2021, when two servicemen were abducted alongside a Yobe state government official, Ali Shehu, who was traveling with a friend identified simply as Mustapha .

The two soldiers, Oyediran Adedotun and Bello Abubakar, were publicly executed two days after their abduction, while Ali Shehu and Mustapha were only released in November 2021.

Again, in December 2021, Boko Haram fighters abducted 20 police officers from a police station in Buni Yadi. All 20, however, were rescued days later after military raids on the terrorists.

Since last week’s kidnappings, soldiers and police have fought to prevent Boko Haram terrorists from attacking the Buni Gari-Buni Yadi axis of Gujba, the 135 km long road, which is the only safe road connecting Maiduguri and Damaturu.

Although the reasons for the army’s decision to close the road have not been clarified, Leadership Sunday has learned from reliable sources that Makza, a border village between Borno State and Yobe, was attacked last year. last.

A military source told our correspondent on Friday that the ban on vehicular traffic on the Damaturu-Biu road had been extended to Potiskum, a town in Yobe, located about 235 km from Maiduguri.

Confirming the road closure, a commercial taxi driver who normally travels the road, Ali Bature, told our reporter by phone that “we have stopped loading passengers because the military have closed the road, which prevents us to enter or leave the city.

He said securing the roads would ensure the restoration of economic activities in Borno, Adamawa and Yobe states, adding that the continued attacks on the roads were worrying and disturbing as many were reportedly kidnapped and even killed.

“This unfortunate situation has threatened the socio-economic activities in Gujba and Damaturu, the state capital. It has forced many people to remain in fear and despair whenever they wake up or travel along this road,” he said.

While acknowledging the efforts of the military and other security agencies against the terrorists, he urged them to do more by securing the only road to Biu in Borno State from Yobe.

“The army and other security agencies should repel the attacks of terrorists by driving them out of their hiding places,” he pleaded.

A businessman who spoke to LEADERSHIP on Sunday called on the federal government to adequately equip troops to support the fight against Boko Haram terrorists in the North East region ahead of the upcoming general elections in 2023.

407 killed in 72 attacks on Chibok, 110 girls missing – Union

Meanwhile, the Kibaku (Chibok) Area Development Association (KADA) said yesterday that 407 people have been killed in 72 attacks that have taken place in the Chibok community since 2012.

According to the association, around 110 Chibok schoolgirls abducted in 2014 are still missing.

Speaking at a press conference held at the Labor House, Abuja, KADA National Chairman, Duda Ndirpaya Iliya who called on the Federal Government to save the people of the city from total annihilation by the Boko Haram members, said 332 people had been abducted with more than 20 churches burned down.

“Save the Chibok community, an ethnic nationality, from total annihilation by Boko Haram terrorists. we still have 110 still untraceable.

“Parents and the community have continued to be victims of persistent and sustained attacks, murders, kidnappings, maimings, arson and other myriad crimes without adequate government protection. Chibok has been at for all intents and purposes abandoned to its own devices by all layers of government in Nigeria,” the group said.

“From late 2012 until today, statistics on the state of damage and destruction of life and property inflicted on the community present a disturbing and pathetic picture: number of attacks: more than 72; people killed: more than 407; abductees: more than 332; Houses/businesses burned: not quantifiable; burned churches: more than 20; stolen vehicles: numerous; grains burned or destroyed: not quantifiable,” Iliya said while giving details of some of the specific attacks and their consequences in the appendix.

“From late 2018 to date, the frequency of attacks and the level of destruction have escalated and are nothing short of alarming. January 14 with five girls kidnapped, three people killed, many houses and churches burnt down, etc.

“Continuing their carnage, Piyemi, another major town in the Chibok region, was attacked on January 20 with 19 people (mostly girls) abducted and one person, the vigilante leader, beheaded. The town was virtually razed to the ground. and virtually all recently harvested agricultural produce completely burned or looted.

“Chibok is primarily an agrarian community and harvests for the whole year have been lost due to these sustained and targeted attacks which pose serious food security concerns in the community.

He called on all well-meaning Nigerians and the President in particular to rise to the occasion and urgently save the people of Chibok from total annihilation and starvation, the group said.

KADA called on the government to seek support to create synergy with the security forces to deal with the threat to end the continued carnage on the population.

“In doing so, we expect that our remaining 110 girls abducted in 2014 and many other girls subsequently abducted at various times will be brought back to us. We call on the federal government to immediately set up camps for internally displaced persons in the town of Chibok and to provide Chibok with a supply center skill in order to avert impending starvation in Chibok.

“We call on the federal government to order the deployment of more military personnel as well as better weapons to Chibok to end the continued attacks on the community. We also call on our action governor to do more to organize and help our people to secure our state in general and Chibok in particular.

The Chibok Community Group, however, consoled the Nigerian Army Theater Command, Maiduguri, for the loss of valiant soldiers including Brigadier General BK Zirkushu who lost their lives in Askira protecting the people from the invading terrorists on November 13, 2021.

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