Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Boko Haram begins forced recruitment

The Boko Haram sect on Saturday killed over 60 people at Gaidamgari village in Bama local government area of Borno State, following refusal by residents to allow their young males to be recruited as members of the terrorist group.

The sect, it was learnt, had embarked on a conscription drive to shore up their ranks dwindled in a series of battles with government troops, but villagers resisted the move.

Sources said the attack on the village, which took place about 10pm, was masterminded by the terrorists as punishment following the refusal by parents and elders to heed the demands of the sect to recruit young men from the village into their fold.

“The refusal of the community to allow their children particularly young boys between the ages of 15 and 20 to be recruited into the Boko Haram group, led to the carnage that befall them as the terrorists mobilised and launched a deadly attack on Gaidamgari village,” a security source said. He noted that during the attack, over 60 residents were killed, while several others sustained gunshot wounds.

The source said the gunmen invaded the village in a convoy of Toyota Hilux vehicles and launched attacks with improvised explosive devices, IEDs, on defenseless civilians.

Another security personnel, who did not want his name mentioned, confirmed the attack on Gaidamgari, but said that 29 people were killed. In another development, about five motorists, including passengers, were at the weekend ambushed along Bama- Maiduguri road by a group of terrorists.

A source at the University of Maiduguri Teaching Hospital told our correspondent that five dead bodies were brought into the hospital. Preliminary investigation revealed that they were victims of Boko Haram ambush.

Our correspondent gathered that a large number of troops were yesterday deployed to the surrounding villages and towns of Damboa to confront the terrorists.

This is even as the Federal Government has vowed not to cede an inch of the nation’s territory to the sect, pledging the commitment of its armed forces and other security agencies to the fight against terror.

Government’s reaction came on the heels of reports that the sect had at the weekend effectively sacked Damboa village and consequently hoisted its flag in the area.

Media reports had detailed how Boko Haram militants killed more than 100 people in the area and hoisted their black and white flag in Damboa, about 85 kilometres from the state capital, Maiduguri.

At a security briefing in Abuja, the Director of Defence Information, Maj.- Gen. Chris Olukolade, said no portion of Nigerian territory would be conceded to any terrorist group, insisting that security in Damboa would be restored.

“We are not conceding any portion of the country to terrorist groups; we are sure that Nigeria security agencies have firmed up deployment in that area; patrols are active and we are going to reverse any form of security threat around the area,” he said. Olukolade, however, dismissed reports that terrorists had overrun the town.

He said: “I will not be stampeded to endorse what you read on social media. Nobody, I repeat, nobody will be allowed to hoist any flag in any portion of land belonging to this country.”

Meanwhile, a Nigerian Air Force Mi-35 helicopter on a training mission crashed yesterday afternoon due to technical fault at a location South of Bama in Bama Local Government Area of Borno State, the military said.

The co-pilot and the technician died in the crash while the pilot survived. Bama, about 70 kilometres drive from Maiduguri, is located along the fringes of Sambisa Forest that has witnessed series of deadly attacks by suspected members of dreaded Boko Haram sect. This was contained in a statement by Olukokade and made available to our correspondent in Maiduguri yesterday.

The DHQ spokesman noted that investigation had commenced to unravel the circumstances that led to the accident. “It is established that the crash is not as a result of any enemy action. Further details on the crash will be made known as soon as the investigation progresses,” Olukolade stated.

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