Musa Ishaq, a resident of Gudumbali in Guzamala local government area of Borno state, has narrated how Boko Haram insurgents seized food items and animals after attacking a military base in the town.
Ishaq said many soldiers fled the community during the attack, leaving residents at the mercy of the insurgents.
He said no member of the community was killed because the insurgents told them that they had only come to reclaim the community, not to harm them.
“We didn’t lose anyone here because the Boko Haram people made it clear that they only wanted to reclaim our land and not to attack us,” he told TheCable.
“They told us that the soldiers were their targets, even though they burnt some houses. After they attacked the soldiers, they took our food and animals and told us that we should not be afraid.”
Abdul Bari, another resident, corroborated the account of Ishaq. He said said the insurgents assured the people that they did not come with intention to kill civilians.
“Their target was the military and not civilians. This is what they told us as they ask us to get out of their sight within a blink of an eye,” Bari told NAN.
“The insurgents were fully kitted with khaki and covered their faces. After one minute, they began shooting from the gun truck facing the military location. There were sounds of sporadic gunshots from many directions. I don’t know what happened but the army was engaging with the terrorists.”
At least 2,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs) returned to Guzamala two months ago, after residing at IDP camps in Maiduguri, the state capital.
They were escorted home by troops who said they had “flushed out remnants of Boko Haram”.
But some of them remained in Maiduguri for the fear of further attacks in the community.
One of these persons who is currently at the El-Miskin IDP camp in the state capital told TheCable that he called people in the village and they told him that the insurgents had taken over the whole town.
“They said Boko Haram did not harm them but they killed some soldiers and took over the town,” said the resident who preferred not being named.
“They also took some of their things. Even before the attack, some people have started coming back to Maiduguri because the place is not safe yet. They hardly go to their farms. They are all afraid. That’s why I can’t go back with my family yet.”
Commenting on the attack, Mamman Durkwa, deputy governor of the state, said security forces were on top of the situation.
“It is unfortunate to confirm to you that there was an attack by Boko Haram extremists on a military base and other communities of Gudumbali,” he said in a statement.
“Thousands of the people who were displaced and spent some years in resettlement camps in Maiduguri have returned back recently after the liberation of those surrounding communities by our gallant security forces.
“I regret to inform you that there was another attack by insurgents in Gudumbali, but I am yet to get the number of casualties.
“I just spoke with the Police Commissioner, Mr Damian Chukwu, and the Brigade Commander in Monguno. Both confirmed to me that the attack actually took place, and our security forces were on top of the situation.”
In a statement on Sunday morning, Texas Chukwu, army spokesman, said the military had recovered the town.
He said normalcy was restored in the community after the soldiers “regrouped and reinforced”.
“The encounter took place when the insurgents attacked the community, set some buildings ablaze and quickly withdrew from the community,” Chukwu said in a statement.
“However, no human casualty was recorded in the encounter. The troops have regrouped and normalcy has been restored. The troops have also been reinforced with additional troops to d
“The people of Gudumbali community and Guzamala Local Government in general are urged to remain calm and resilient as Operation Lafiya Dole troops tirelessly combat the terrorists. They are also implored to maintain high level of vigilance and monitor strange faces to prevent fleeing Boko Haram terrorists from infiltrating and hibernating in their communities.”