Terrorists Kill Soldiers, Civilians in North-east

*Air strikes decimate seven insurgents in Zamfara

Kingsley Nwezeh in Abuja with agency reports

Terrorists, weekend,  attacked an army base and a town in the North-east, killing soldiers and civilians in the latest violence to rock the region, security sources and residents said yesterday.  In another development, military air strikes killed seven armed bandits in Zamfara.

The clashes came as armed bandits reportedly organised a feast for the child of a 16-year-old abducted female student of Federal Government College (FGC), Birnin Yauri, in Kebbi State, who gave birth to a child in captivity.

Fighters from Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) riding trucks fitted with machineguns stormed the town of Malam Fatori, in Abadam District, late Friday and early Saturday, sources said.

“ISWAP terrorists attacked Malam Fatori and caused huge destruction which we are working to quantify,” a military officer told AFP.

“They attacked the military base and engaged troops in a fight while a second group went on a killing spree and arson in the town,” said the officer who asked not to be identified. The first attack, near the Niger border, came at dusk Friday, leading to a fierce battle with soldiers, who repelled the assault, said resident Buji Garwa.

In a pre-dawn attack on the base and the town on Saturday, the jihadists hurled explosives and killed residents, while others drowned in a river trying to flee.

“It is not clear how many people were killed because we all fled the town and are now gradually returning to assess the damage,” Garwa said, adding that a large part of the town had been set on fire.

“We have started combing the bushes and picking (up) bodies of those killed and searching along the river banks to find those washed to the shores,” he said.

Another resident, Baitu Madari, said she had counted a dozen people who were killed in her neighbourhood.

“I have no idea of the number of the dead bodies recovered in other parts of town. The destruction is really huge,” she said.

According to an intelligence officer, the attackers came from nearby Kamuya village.

“Kamuya is the largest ISWAP camp in Lake Chad area which is just eight kilometres (five miles) from Malam Fatori,” the source said.

“All the previous unsuccessful attacks on Malam Fatori were launched from Kamuya which is well fortified with mines and heavy weapons,” he added.

Malam Fatori, 200 kilometres from the regional capital Maiduguri, on the fringes of Lake Chad, was seized by Boko Haram jihadists in 2014 but clawed back by the military in 2015.

A base was established in the town to repel attacks from ISWAP, which split from Boko Haram in 2016 and turned Lake Chad into a bastion.

In March, thousands of people who fled to Maiduguri and into neighbouring Niger were returned to Malam Fatori on the orders of the Borno state government, despite concern by aid agencies.

The jihadist conflict which broke out in 2009 has killed over 40,000 people and displaced around two million in the northeast.

The violence has spilled into neighbouring Niger, Chad and Cameroon, prompting a regional military force to fight the insurgents.

Meanwhile, military air strikes killed seven armed bandits in Zamfara.

A military update said the air strikes were carried out in sustenance of efforts aimed at ridding the North-west of Nigeria of terrorrists activities. It said Nigerian Air Force (NAF) aircraft under Operation Hadarin Daji on the evening of 18  of November 2022 carried out strikes on the enclave of notorious terrorist leader and gun runner, Mallam Ila, located about 9km East of Manawa Village in Shinkafi Local Government Area of Zamfara State.

It said: “After the air strike on the location, multiple explosions were observed with huge fireballs, indicative of other high inflammable materials hidden in the location.

“About seven terrorists were also confirmed eliminated while Mallam Ila narrowly escaped but sustained critical injuries. Mallam Ila remains a high value target due to his closeness and association with terrorist leaders Bello Turji and Dan Bokoyo. Ila, Turji and Bokoyo’s foot soldiers have also been responsible for attacks in Shinkafi general area of Zamfara State as well as parts of Kaduna, Niger, Kebbi and Sokoto States”, it said.

Spokesman of the Nigerian Air Force, Air Commodore Edward Gabkwet, confirmed the air interdiction and maintained that “strikes on key terrorists and their hideouts continues until all areas are rid of  enemies of the State”. According to him, “The NAF and other security agencies remain on track to seeing the ongoing counterterrorism effort to a conclusive end”.

He called on  Nigerians to continue to support the security agencies with information on activities of criminal elements as solving the present security impasse require the involvement of all.

Meanwhile, armed bandits reportedly organised a feast for the child of a 16-year-old abducted female student of Federal Government College (FGC), Birnin Yauri, in Kebbi State, who gave birth to a child in captivity.

The young mother is said to be  among 11 remaining female students yet to be released after gunmen abducted over 100 students and eight teachers and killed a policeman in the mixed boarding school on June 17, 2021.

Security operatives had  rescued some of the students, while others escaped from the kidnappers

The bandits also released the teachers and 30 of the students.

It was gathered that the girl delivered a baby boy in the abductors’ forest camp a few weeks ago.

A source, who confirmed the news of the ‘naming ceremony’ of the child of the abducted FGC Yauri Female student disclosed that two other students in the terrorists’ den also gave birth to a baby girl and boy.

“There are about four other female students who are pregnant at the moment. One of them is due to give birth any moment from now,” he said.

Meanwhile, one of the parents of the abducted female reportedly called on military authorities  to intervene and ensure their children’s release.

“In the name of God Almighty, we call for that special committee constituted by the Chief of Defence Staff, Gen Lucky Irabor, to take charge and resolve it as quickly as possible as it did with Kaduna train passengers.

“We learn about how the remaining abducted passengers were released after six months in captivity through the efforts by the Irabor Committee and the endorsement of NSA Monguno.

“It is unfortunate that our daughters have spent more than one year in captivity and married off by force and becoming young mothers at tender age. Oh my God,” he lamented.

Another parent  pointed out that the Chief of Defence Staff Action Committee (CDSAC) could facilitate the rescue of the female students in captivity.

The parent, who pleaded anonymity, recalled how CDSAC on October 5 had secured the release and took custody of all the 23 remaining Abuja-Kaduna passengers held hostage by Boko Haram terrorists following the attack on the Abuja-to-Kaduna train on March 28, 2022.

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