Hafiz Ringim, Police IG
About the same time a bomb exploded killing two persons, gunmen believed to be members of Boko Haram Thursday attacked a police station in Maiduguri, Borno State.
The bomb, which also injured two persons, exploded beside a bank along Baga Road at 8.20am, causing panic among residents as people scampered for safety.
Sources said the explosion took place as many people were waiting in front of the bank in anticipation of the 9am opening time to collect their July salaries.
“Everybody fled as soon as the explosive went off but I can’t say precisely if the victims were among those that fled or they were at the spot where the bomb exploded. I only saw two corpses on the ground after the soldiers arrived the scene,” a resident disclosed.
The Joint Task Force (JTF) confirmed the casualty figure, and said the deaths were caused by gun shots fired by Boko Haram.
A press release signed by its spokesman, Lt Colonel Hassan Mohammed, said: “Members of the JTF also rushed to the scene and saw two persons shot dead and two injured. The injured were rushed to the hospital for treatment.”
Witnesses, who saw the attack on the police station, said three men who were in a Volkswagen Golf tried to dislodge the policemen by shooting sporadically around the Ibrahim Taiwo police area command located in front of the Baga Market.
They said traders at the market had to quickly close their shops and the whole market was deserted while motorists plying the road turned back.
The three men allegedly attempted to attack the police station by first firing gunshots while the policemen returned their fire before the assailants fled.
A witness said there was sporadic shooting by the policemen who fired several shots into the air for close to 20 minutes which made people to run for safety.
The road was cordoned off for some hours by men of JTF.
However, the JTF spokesman, Mohammed, did not confirm the attempted attack on the police station to journalists.
Meanwhile, the Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) has said the dialogue/amnesty approach of Governor Kashim Shettima offers the best solution to the Boko Haram imbroglio, urging the governor to pursue the goal to its logical conclusion.
The ACF, led by its chairman, Alhaji Aliko Mohammed, Thursday said they were in Maiduguri not because their sympathies and concern would reduce or eliminate the pains and trauma of the Borno people, but to respond to their feeling of outrage on how an otherwise “common place quarrel between members of the same family has degenerated into salvage fight involving bombs, guided missiles”.
ACF explained that the crisis which ought to have been halted had lasted too long, spanning a period of two years and inflicting much suffering on the people.
“Yet, this violent campaign being waged by members of the Yusuffiya Movement otherwise known as Boko Haram has gone on since 2009 - over 500 days.
That is how tragic and unnatural it is,” Mohammed said in an address to Shettima at the Government House.
The ACF chairman called on Boko Haram to accept the dialogue proposal.
“You have spoken loud and clear; you have been heard; stop firing your guns and killing people. Come to the peace table now,” he pleaded.