Survivors of Saturday’s attack by Boko Haram in Gudumbale, Guzamala Local Government Area in Borno, have recounted their near-death ordeal during the incident.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that scores of insurgents in gun trucks and various caliber of arms, stormed the town and attacked a military base, a battle that lasted for about 12 hours.
Some of the survivors who spoke to NAN after finding their way to Maiduguri on Sunday evening, expressed different feelings over the incident.
Hajja Bintu Bukar, 33-year old mother of three, said the insurgents held them hostage for several hours and continued shooting throughout the period.
“I cannot describe the type of shock I went through. I was waiting to hear them brake into our home and kill us. They were chanting Alhahu Akhbar amidst sporadic shootings from a very close range.
“We all got down on the floor for fear of stray bullets. They continued shooting until around 3 a.m.
“That was when we escaped and started running. I held my three children very close because it was dark at that time. I also found five other children belonging to my neighbour who fled and held them close.
“We trekked more than 20 kilometres where some vehicle conveying other IDPs assisted us to Gajiram. It was from there that we came here in Maiduguri.
“I am yet to hear from my husband up till now. I am still in shock. I never wanted to go back to Gajiram. We are not safe.”
Modu Bukar, who escaped with his goat, said he couldn’t run away because he was taking care of his two grand parents.
Bukar said that when he realised the criminals were not targetting civilians, he decided to lock himself with his parents with a padlock so they would not come into the home.
“They left the town after several hours. They were chanting “Munkama garinsu gabadaya” which means we have taken over the town completely.
“The rains of bullet suddenly stopped but we were advised to remain in the house. At that time we knew that the military had also left the place because they fought nonstop for almost 12 hours.
“On Saturday, they came back to the town again and started shooting. At that time I assumed that they came after civilians.
“So I left my parents and ran away. I trekked a distance of 7 kilometres through the plantation and found my self in Gajiram where I took a transport and returned to Maiduguri this evening.”
Ahmed Usman, another victim who recounted the same experience said that most of the soldiers were not on ground when the shootings stopped.
“The brigade commander had visited the town with additional troops but the people were still in the fear of the unknown.
“We have been there for almost three months. I am willing to go back if the military can provide additional forces to protect us.
“Many of our people are farmers and they have invested a lot in this year’s farming in the area. But we have no choice than to wait until total peace is restored.
“We are here as elders of the community to make preparation to return our people to Bakkassi IDPs camp.
“We have contacted our secretary of local government and we fixed a date for Monday so that those who escaped and are still on the way could arrive Maiduguri and join other IDPs.
“We therefore urge the government to make the necessary preparations for food, shelter and even clothing as we ran out of the town with nothing and many may not be willing to go back to the town again,” he said.
Brig.-Gen. Texas Chukwu, Director Army Public Relations, had earlier disclosed in Maiduguri that combined troops of 82 Division Task Force Brigade and 158 Task Force Battalion conducting Counter Insurgency Operations in North Eastern Nigeria, had encountered the insurgents in Gudumbali but successfully repelled the attack.
“The encounter took place when the insurgents attacked the community, set some buildings ablaze and quickly withdrew from the community. However, no human casualty was recorded in the encounter.”
The Chief of Defence Staff, Gabriel Olonisakin; Chief of Army Staff, Tukur Buratai; Chief of Air Staff, Sadique Abubakar, and other principal military officers met with Theartre Commamder, Maj.-Gen. Abba Dikko, at the Military Control and Command Centre in Maiduguri over the attack.
The outcome of the meeting was not made public, as the military chief declined to comment on the incident.
But sources close to the Army Chiefs said they were briefed on the various ongoing operations, adding that they were deeply concerned over the spate of attack in the northeast.
NAN gathered that the meeting reviewed the operations and re-strategised for onslaught against Boko Haram terrorists, especially in Borno North and the Lake Chad region. (NAN)