Boko Haram: 881 killed, 376 injured in 100 days
- We are winning the war – military
No fewer than 881 people were killed, while 376 others were injured during attacks carried out by the Boko Haram insurgents in six states within the past 100 days, an analysis of reported cases of attacks by insurgents has shown.
Among those who died in the attacks were 841 civilians while 40 insurgents also died, including suicide bombers, Daily Trust on Sunday investigation has revealed. The attacks that took place in six States namely: Borno, Yobe, Gombe, Plateau, Kano and Kaduna.
A breakdown showed that Borno State recorded the highest number of attacks within the period under review. The North-East State, which is the epicenter of Boko Haram activities, recorded 25 attacks. Yobe State recorded the second highest number Boko Haram attacks, numbering 12, while Gombe and Plateau States recorded two attacks each. Kano and Kaduna States located in the North-West recorded a single attack each within the period in review.
Records of the deaths and injured were derived from newspaper reports published as from May 29 to September 2, 2015. In Borno State the attacks were carried out in several towns and villages including Maiduguri, the State capital. Other places in the state that witnessed attacks were Gamboru, Tashan Alade, Biu, Monguno and the popular Baga market. In Yobe state, Damaturu was one of the places attacked by Boko Haram within the period under review while Fika, Gujba Potiskum and Tambowa towns were also affected with several deaths recorded. In Plateau State the two attacks recorded were carried out in Jos North while the only attack in Kano State was launched on Kano Municipal. The two attacks recorded in Gombe State were all carried out in the State capital while the single attack recorded in Kaduna took place at Sabon- Gari town.
While military high command is making frantic efforts to win the war on Boko Haram insurgency, especially in the North-East region, some residents of Borno State said there are areas in the state still under the group’s occupation.
Most of the people who spoke to this reporter in the state commended the present administration for being transparent and truthful in the execution of the war on Boko Haram insurgency, saying the morale of soldiers at the war front is very high though there are still complaints of foot dragging by the troops in responding to distress calls in some instances.
A psychologist, Dr Abba Sandami, noted that the war against the insurgents has recorded some remarkable achievements within the first 100 days of this administration, adding that “the biggest and most important of all the achievements however is the conviction that people have that now there is a government that is serious about fighting the insurgency.
“The era of people coming in military uniform to kill some prominent people in a community being guarded by police and soldiers is over. The era of soldiers soliciting for re-enforcement and aircraft but which were deployed otherwise, thereby weakening the soldiers for the insurgents to have upper hand on, as it happened in Bama, is now over.
“The era of strange helicopters dropping weapons and other military hardware is also over. The military has within the past 100 days succeeded in liberating some communities and sustained peace in Maiduguri. We were amazed at a report lately that Baga has also been liberated. Gwoza of all places has also been liberated and the people are living there now,” he said.
Dr Sandami said even the ordinary man on the streets of Maiduguri is convinced that the military is serious about the war on insurgency and advised that more effort be made in ensuring that more areas are liberated from the insurgents.
The Chairperson of a Non-Governmental Organisation catering for women and children, Mrs Maria Fatom Abdulkadir, also commended President Muhammadu Buhari for championing the setting up of the multinational force, consisting of troops from Nigeria, Niger, Chad and Cameroun to fight the war on terror.
“The rescue of several hundreds of people kidnapped by Boko Haram insurgents is another giant stride. Though most of the roads leading to Maiduguri are blocked because the insurgents are still holding on some towns and villages, Maiduguri to Damaturu road has been cleared of all insurgents.
“Look at the kind of peace we are now enjoying in Maiduguri. Few weeks before the coming of this administration, killings in Maiduguri were a daily affair. We are now living in peace,” she said.
A security source that pleaded for anonymity as he had no authority to talk to the press said in addition to motivation from military high command, sophisticated weapons and logistics have now been provided for the execution of the war.
“Under the former administration, when you ask for reinforcement from the Air Force, there was always delay before there is a response; sometimes they may not even respond. That was one of the major reasons why our soldiers were running away from the war then. But now when you call for air reinforcement, the response is immediate.
“We now have intelligence officers and men moving ahead of the fighter troops to gather intelligence. We work in a more coordinated way now. We have discovered a lot of Boko Haram camps, destroyed them and recovered stolen items from there. We have also rescued several people kidnapped by the insurgents.
“We have also discovered several holes dug by the insurgents which they used to hide their weapons; and those to hide and lay ambush for troops and other civilians. I am talking of holes that can contain tens of people and truckloads of goods. We have destroyed all of them. We have recovered several cows stolen by the insurgents.
“All these, and many more, are things that happened between June to date because of the motivation the troops are getting from the present administration,” the source said.
But a primary school teacher from Malanfatori in the state who escaped before Boko Haram took over control of the area, Mala Kyari, said despite optimism by the military authorities that the end of the insurgency is in sight, Boko Haram hostilities in Borno have persisted with killings, abductions, suicide attacks and carting away of livestock.
A community leader, who pleaded anonymity, said “few weeks ago, Balle Mammani was attacked by insurgents where they killed six people, kidnapped three girls and took away several cows. The next day they released the girls and freed the cows.
“We requested the authorities to track down the insurgents since the freed girls said their camp was not too far but nobody was willing to take action. We have several such cases,” he said.
This article was first published in Daily Trust on Sunday on September 6, 2015