Five-year-old, three soldiers killed in Boko Haram attack on Maumeri
Tobi Soniyi in Lagos and Paul Obi in Abuja with agency report
President Muhammadu Buhari has assured Nigerians that his administration is taking the necessary measures to end suicide bombings by Boko Haram terrorists, saying the attacks are like the last kicks of a dying horse.
The assurance came just as the terrorist group in a fresh attack on Magumeri town, headquarters of Magumeri Local Government Area of Borno State at the weekend, killed three soldiers and a five-year-old boy.
Speaking at the inauguration of the Pulaaku Radio in Yola, Adamawa State, yesterday, the president who was represented by the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, said Boko Haram had been massively degraded and its surviving members put on the run.
â€˜â€™Instead of being hunters, they are now the hunted. In their desperation to stay relevant, they have resorted to the wicked and dastardly act of using innocent under-aged children to carry out suicide bomb attacks.
â€˜â€™But what we are witnessing now are the last kicks of a dying horse. Yes, these kicks may be dangerous, but they donâ€™t last long.
Progressively, they become weaker and weaker until the horse finally dies,â€™â€™ he said.
The president said the war against Boko Haram had moved to the next phase, which was intelligence-driven, with a view to ending the suicide bombings.
â€˜â€™That is why I approved the establishment of an intelligence fusion centre in Maiduguri, the Borno State capital, to gather and share intelligence among security agencies in the country. This will go a long way in ending this campaign of suicide bombing,â€™â€™ he said The president said the new phase would depend largely on information and communication, and therefore rallied the media, especially radio and television stations, to play their part in enlightening the populace.
â€˜â€™We are building on the nationwide campaign we launched last year, with the payoff line: â€˜If you see something, say somethingâ€™. It simply means that we need everyone to be involved in getting the necessary information to tackle the terrorists. They are not ghosts, and some of them live among us. We must all, therefore, support our gallant troops, many of whom have made the supreme sacrifice in this war, by providing information that can help rid our communities of terrorists â€˜â€™It is important for the media – especially radio and television – to continue to play their part in this war, by offering their platforms to communicate useful information to the populace.
As part of our sensitisation campaign, which is still running on national radio and television as we speak, we put out those little signs that give up the terrorists, and which the people must watch out for. Help us communicate this information to the people,â€™â€™ he said.
The president described as most auspicious the timing of the inuguration of the radio station, and implored it as well as other radio stations to donate airtime for the national sensitisation campaign.
However, the Nigerian Army yesterday announced that three of its troops were killed and six others wounded while fighting to repel the insurgentsâ€™ attack in Magumeri town.
According to Deputy Director, Army Public Relations, Col. Timothy Antigha, â€œsuspected elements of Boko Haram attempted to attack Magumeri.
â€œAs a prelude to the intended attack on the town, the terrorists attempted to dislodge the Forward Operational Base in Magumeri, Borno State.â€
He said: â€œHowever, soldiers of 5 Brigade Garrison located in the town repelled the attack. The troops fought gallantly. Unfortunately, three soldiers lost their lives, while six others sustained injuries.
â€œThe bodies of the late soldiers and the wounded have been evacuated. The wounded are receiving medical attention. Some platforms were also attacked and damaged by the terrorists. Further developments regarding the incident will be communicated accordingly.
â€œThe 8 Division wishes to assure all residents of Magumeri that everything is being done to ensure their safety and security. To this end, they are to continue pursuing their legitimate activities without any fear,â€ Antigha stated.
In the same attack, a five-year-old boy was killed by the terrorists.
Alhaji Wakil Malam-Tawu, the Secretary to the council, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that the boy was killed by a stray bullet.
Malam-Tawu said two women and a teenager also sustained gunshot injuries in the night attack.
He explained that a clinic, mosque and shops were also razed in the attack, adding that those injured were treated and discharged.
â€œThe people have returned to their houses and slept at Magumeri while others came back in the morning. It was only one child of about 5 years old that was killed and three other people wounded by stray bullets.
â€œAnd also a rocket launcher hit one of our health clinics, including a mosque and some shops along the main road.
â€œThis morning I visited Magumeri; the town is very calm, we paid a sympathy visit to the person who lost his child to condole him.
â€œWe also paid a visit to the areas where rocket launchers hit some of our structures.â€
Malam-Tawu also dismissed as â€˜misleadingâ€™ reports indicating that the insurgents had taken over the town, noting that normalcy has been restored to the area.