Adamawa State Governor, Murtala Nyako
By Daji Sani and Michael Olugbode
No fewer than 25 people were allegedly killed Friday in separate attacks in Maiha Local Government Area of Adamawa State and Musari area of Borno State by unknown gunmen suspected to be members of the Islamic religious sect, Boko Haram.
The attacks which came as people were almost celebrating a stress free Yuletide led to 20 deaths in Maiha where the terrorists also attacked offices and lodges of the Customs and residents as well as the Divisional Police Headquarters, which they set ablaze.
However, out of the 35 inmates freed by the attackers from the Maiha prison, the police said have re-arrested 11.
The terrorists entered a Musari within the hours of 1 am and 3 am and surreptitiously killed five people in their houses.
Police Public Relations Officer in Yola, DSP, Mohammed Ibrahim confirmed that the attackers burnt down the customs office, District Head office, a car belonging to the Divisional Police Officer and several residential houses in the town.
Mohammed further disclosed that a guest in the local government Presidential Lodge was killed and a police officer also killed at the Divisional Police Station.
The Adamawa State police commissioner, Mr Godfrey Okeke confirmed the incident, but declined to make further comment regarding the attacks in Maiha.
However, Hamman Jelani, an eyewitness told ThisDay that the gunmen came from the mountainous area of Maiha and set the prison inmates free.
He said the came with heavy weapons and fired some gunshots before attacking the Divisional Police Headquarters and the prison. "The attackers also made away with various arms and ammunition."
According to sources, the attackers subsequently proceeded to the Local Government Education Authority complex, which they ransacked and set ablaze.
A resident of the area, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the people of Maiha were shell-shocked in the wee hours of the night as cries were heard from homes.
According to him, many were crying for help without any coming their way "as everyone knew not where the danger was coming from and they were equally apprehensive of the fact that they may walk into the hands of assailants."
He said the attack could have gone on till daybreak if not for the intervention of the men of the Joint Task Force who engaged the militants in a gun battle and drove them back.
Confirming the attack, the spokesperson of the JTF in Borno State, Lt. Col. Sagir Musa said:" Information revealed that some terrorists sneaked into Musari, a village located on the outskirts of Maiduguri and secretly carried out selective killings of five people including a serving Nigerian Police Traffic Warden.
"The Joint Task Force troops responded to the distress call, arrested three suspected assailants and recovered one AK 47 Rifle with ten rounds of 7.62mm ammunition."