Normalcy Returns to Borno Towns after Boko Haram Attack

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By Michael Olugbode in Maiduguri

Normalcy has returned to Gubio and Magumeri, both reported to have been captured by Boko Haram last week.

A visit to the two towns by our correspondent on Saturday showed people going about their normal activities with no visible signs that it was attacked by Boko Haram as reported in some media last week.

Though some of the people who spoke to our correspondent in both towns admitted that it was attacked by insurgents, but they were quick to add that they were repelled by the soldiers and men of the civilian joint task force who engaged them in gunfight.

In Magumeri, soldiers were seen in vehicles stationed at different locations watching over the town.

Policemen were equally seen on the roads, taking position and watching over the town.

There was no visible signs of massive destruction as just about five buildings were torched in the attack on the town by insurgents last week.

Both commercial and private vehicles were seen moving around the town as residents went about their businesses without apprehension.

A resident of the town, Abba Mustapha, who spoke to our correspondent, admitted that there was an attack by the insurgents last week but was immediately repelled by the military.

In Gubio, economic activities were in progress, as food sellers, other traders and artisans were carrying out their trades.

The market in the town was full of traders and people who had come to make purchases as everyone seems to have forgotten the attack that took place few days earlier.

It was apparent that it was attacked by Boko Haram as our correspondent could count about five buildings torched.

The buildings torched included two in the vacated military base and the home of a federal lawmaker and two public buildings.

Some members of the youth vigilance group who spoke to our correspondent, said the insurgents were in the town but could not stay long as they were driven back by the soldiers who were assisted by the men of the Civilian Joint Task Force.

One of the men of the youth vigilance group, Abbas Mustapha, said as the gunfight was going on, some of the insurgents used the opportunity to torch some apparently selected targets.

The head of the military counter-insurgency in the Northeast (Theatre Commander of Operation Lafiya Dole) , Brig. Gen. Olusegun Adeniyi, who conducted journalists round part of the state, including Gubio, Magumeri and Jakana took time out to address the troops and members of the public.

The troops, he told to be alive to their pledge to the nation and to always fight for her territorial integrity, unity and suppress any threat.

He told the member of the public, to cooperate with the troops who were out to ensure that the threat of the insurgents were bought to an end.

He asked them to stay in their homes, promising that needed strategies are now in place to see that the insurgency was put to bed.

He said: “This is your home and no criminal should come and send you packing.”

He added: “Boko Haram are criminals and are never crusaders of Islam for Islam does not allow your livestock to be stolen, your children forcefully married and your wives raped.”

Adeniyi, who later addressed journalists, said that at no time were troops withdrawn from any town or village.

He said what was evolved was a new strategy that took the soldiers from the trenches to the vehicles and allowed for mobility which made them to be fluid and ready to take on the insurgents at all times and at places.

He said: “The strategy of fighting in the trenches that was evolved during the First World War cannot continue to be used, the troops need to be fluid to take on the insurgents at all times.”