No fewer than 100 people reportedly lost their lives following the recent increased attacks carried out by members of the relentless terrorist group, Boko Haram in two North-Eastern states of Borno and Yobe.
Vanguard reports that the casualties were recorded from different places, including burnt police formations in the towns.
Damaturu, the capital of Yobe State is about 135 km west of Maiduguri which is the capital of Borno state.
A resident at the Gujba area of the city, who gave his name as Umar Sada, disclosed that the latest raid happened at about 4.45am (0345 GMT). He said residents were jerked out of bed by the sound of gunshots and explosions while many scampered for safety.
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“I was woken by huge blasts and the sound of heavy gunfire around the Mobile Police barracks. The gunmen came in numbers. They burnt down the Police barracks. They are now advancing towards two housing estates. We have left our home. We are now in the bush. We don’t know what’s going to happen,” Sada said.
Another resident, a government official who spoke on condition of anonymity said: “its chaos all over the town. All I can hear are explosions and gunfire from my house. I couldn’t go out for morning prayers because this started before dawn and I’m afraid to leave in case I get caught up in it.”
The military operatives in in Damaturu could not be reached for comments but Air Force jets were seen overhead.
When contacted, the state’s commissioner of police, Marcus Danladi, said they were dealing with a “serious situation.”
But the local Vigilantes in the city claimed that more than 40 Boko Haram fighters were killed.
Meanwhile, a staff of the Federal Polytechnic, Damaturu revealed that the fighting was still on as at mid-morning, adding that some bullet shells landed in the school compound. Witnesses say fighting was still going on close to the detention facilities where Boko Haram suspects were being held near the state governor’s residence, and that Air Force jets are bombarding the terrorists.
A source said the fresh attacks in Damaturu were targeted at Police and military formations as well as selected houses.
A source, who gave his name as Mallam Usmanu Iliya revealed that the Police Mobile Base in Damaturu was one of the security formations that came under attack by insurgents.
“As I am talking to you, we are in serious confusion now, gunshots and explosions were everywhere especially from the southern part of the city and people are fleeing,” said an embattled resident,” he said.
Another resident who did not want his name in print said he was woken up by the gunshots and blasts which started at about 6 a.m.
Meanwhile, Yobe State Governor, Ibrahim Gaidam, who condemned the attacks described it as heinous and barbaric.
In a statement issued on Monday by his Special Adviser on Press Affairs and Information, Abdullahi Bego, the governors expressed appreciation to the security forces who worked very hard on the ground and from the air to repel the attack and forced many of the attackers to flee.
He said it was the efforts of the security operatives that have made Damaturu firmly under government control by now.
“The governor has also been told that the security effort is still ongoing. Security agents will continue to track and pursue any remnants of the attackers who might still be hiding in town. The governor urges people in Damaturu and all across the State to continue to remain vigilant and pray to Almighty Allah for His intervention.
“While commending the security forces for their work in repelling the attack, the governor also called on them to remain at their highest alert level and to carry the good work to its logical conclusion. The governor has directed hospital authorities to provide adequate support to innocent victims of the attack who visit hospital for medical attention,” the statement reads.
It would be recalled that Damaturu, Yobe State was reportedly under heavy attack from the Boko Haram members who launched an early morning offensive.
In a related development, no fewer than 10 persons were reportedly killed on Monday in Maiduguri, Borno State capital by two female suicide bombers who detonated a device at a market.