By Michael Olugbode in Maiduguri
The Borno State Governor, Alhaji Kashim Shettima, has said the attack on his convoy by Boko Haram was planned by the terrorist group to attract local and international media attention and sustain its propaganda strategy.
The governor, in a statement signed on Thursday by his spokesman, Mallam Isa Gusau, said he mourns “with the deepest thoughts and heartfelt condolences, the demise of some fellow citizens, brothers, associates and loyal supporters following an unfortunate ambush of some vehicles in his convoy by suspected insurgents on Tuesday evening along the road to Gamboru, headquarters of Ngala Local Government Area”.
The statement said: “While the governor is expecting full security briefing to get accurate information on the incident, preliminary report on Wednesday, confirmed the killing of three persons during the attack, which was principally aimed to attract local and global media attention in order to sustain propaganda strategy and to instil fear in citizens and gallant troops.
“Governor Shettima who returned at night yesterday, will today (Thursday) meet families of those affected by the attack. The governor will also meet some security heads to review the incident and more importantly, to continue his determined collaboration with all security agencies and volunteers in remaining committed to the ongoing fight against Boko Haram.
“The unfortunate incident will not make the governor have doubt in the capacity of the gallant and patriotic personnel of the Nigerian armed forces who have dedicated their lives fighting for peace and the freedom of Borno people. The governor has absolute confidence in the armed forces and given his access to raw updates, he is aware of the successes being recorded by the armed forces despite Tuesday’s and previous attacks by the insurgents.
“For one success recorded by the insurgents, the armed forces record dozens against them. The governor remains optimistic and urges citizens to be calm, prayerful and supportive of the Nigerian armed forces and volunteers through means that include (as they have been doing) the sharing of useful information.”
According to the statement, “Tuesday’s incident happened while the governor was on his way to Gamboru in continuation of campaigns for the presidential and National Assembly elections coming up on Saturday. The governor had left Maiduguri on Tuesday morning and stopped for campaigns in Mafa and Dikwa Local Government Areas before heading to Gamboru where he passed the night and returned to Maiduguri on Wednesday. He had on Monday travelled to Damasak, headquarters of Mobbar Local Government Area in northern Borno.
“Before then, he had previously held campaigns in most parts of northern Borno including Monguno where he spent the night. He had also been to all the nine local government areas of southern Borno including Chibok, Gwoza, Askira-Uba and Biu where he spent days.”