Michael Olugbode in Maiduguri
The Nigerian military has successful repelled the attempted takeover of a Borno village, Mainok, by Boko Haram terrorists.
The repelling of the attack was without casualties from both sides as soldiers and members of the militant group fought in the attack that was on for hours on last Wednesday night.
It was gathered that travelers on the Maiduguri/Damaturu highway were caught in the crossfire, which led to many of them making a U-turn.
Mainok, is a village about 58 kilometres away from Maiduguri, the state capital, and had suffered a devastating attack from the terrorists in September 2014 when the entire village was razed and the surviving residents were forced to flee to Maiduguri.
The residents just last years picked up pieces of their lives and returned home after the state government assisted in rebuilding the village.
Speaking on the attack, Col. Onyema Nwachukwu, in an email message to THISDAY said: â€œOur troops had a fierce encounter with elements of the Boko Haram terrorists yesterday (Wednesday) night at Mainok in Kaga Local Government Area
â€œThere were casualties on both sides. The troops have been reinforced and we are in control of the area.â€
But the state Police Commissioner, Damian Chukwu, who apparently wanted to cover the casualty figures and level of devastation from the probing public eye, said there was no death recorded in the shootout.
The CP, in a statement, issued thursday said: â€œYesterday (Wednesday) at about 1830hrs, suspected Boko Haram terrorists invaded and attacked Mainok town, about 59kilometres from the state capital along Maiduguri/Damaturu highway.
â€œThe attack was repelled by combined forces of military and SARS personnel. Two civilians (one Baba Kachalla and another whose identity was not yet known) sustained gunshot wounds and are responding to treatment at University of Maiduguri Teaching Hospital. A state government rebuilt residential building was also burnt in the attack.
â€œNormalcy has since been restored, while monitoring around the town and environs continues.â€
In another development, Chukwu, in the same statement, alleged that impersonators were arrested trying to extort money from internally displaced persons IDPs in Maiduguri.
He said: â€œFollowing a tip off, some unscrupulous elements were impersonating as staff of an NGO, Safe The Children, and were extorting money from IDPs at 777 and 1,000 Housing Estate, Maiduguri, were raided on November 22 and 23, 2017 respectively.
â€œThe following persons: Hadiza Zanna, female, Malgana Mohammed, male and
Halima Mohammed, female, were arrested while others are still at large.
â€œThey engaged in registering and collecting money from their victims ranging from N2, 000 to N15,000 in the pretense that they will be supplied with relief materials for the whole year.â€
Investigation, however, revealed that the suspects have no connection nor were they representing Safe The Children group.
Chukwu, who also addressed a press conference, said: â€œThis press briefing has become necessary because of reports of proliferation of fake NGOs taking advantage of innocent people of the state in the guise of providing humanitarian services.
â€œThe command therefore wishes to use this medium to enlighten members of the public not to have any dealing with any NGO that is demanding money for whatever reason(s).â€
He promised that: â€œAll the suspects arrested will be charged to court as soon as investigations are over, while effort is being made to arrest other members of the syndicate still at large.â€