Fourteen persons, including a Divisional Police Officer (DPO) were yesterday feared killed in Potiskum, a major commercial town in Yobe State, during a crossfire between members of the Boko Haram sect and security officials.
The DPO, Mr. Mohammed Garba, according to sources, was allegedly killed by the sect members, who initially had an upper hand in the crossfire.
It was gathered that during the shootout, the sect members had their initial advantage cut short as 13 of them were killed by policemen, who were assisted by soldiers.
It was also learnt that the sect members equally torched a new generation bank’s branch office in the area, a telecommunication masts belonging to Etisalat, MTN and Airtel and a police station. All these according to sources from the town were razed with the aid Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs).
An unconfirmed report also had it that the sect members made an attempt to attack the palace of the Emir of Fika, Alhaji Mohammed Idrissa Ibn Abali, within the town but were repelled off by men of the Joint Task Force (JTF) stationed in the palace.
Monday’s attempted attack on the palace made it the second time the Emir would be singled out for an attack, as a suicide bomber few months ago had made an attempt for his life during a Friday congregation prayers around the palace.
It was gathered from sources in the town that yesterday’s attack took place at 2 a.m. when some suspected sect members had laid ambush to some military check points, the bank’s office/branch, police station and telecomm masts, which resulted in an exchange of gunfire from the JTF, where a DPO, three sect members corpses laid on the streets.
Confirming the incident to journalists in Damaturu, JTF’s spokesman, Lieutenant Eli Lazarus, said there was an attack by some Boko Haram members in Potiskum town, where a DPO was killed.
He said: “We repelled the attack and succeeded in killing 13 of the suspects, three dead bodies of the suspects were recovered on the streets of Potiskum by the JTF, while some of the terrorists succeeded in carrying away 10 of the other dead bodies of their colleagues and escaped through the bush.”
He noted that the JTF has already swung into action in order to arrest the fleeing suspects with the dead bodies, even as he stressed that the whole town has been cordoned off with a view to prevent further attacks and killings.