Gunmen suspected to be members of the Boko Haram terror group on Monday attacked various communities around the rocky mountains of Gwoza town of Borno State killing nine villagers and setting ablaze houses and churches in the area, residents and a public official said.
The insurgents also hoisted their flags in Ashigashiya ward of Gwoza Local Government Area and are currently celebrating in the area which they have now declared their headquarters.
Sources from Gwoza hills said apart from the nine people killed, several others were left with serious bullet injuries as fleeing residents now take refuge on tall rocky hills.
A local government official, Nglamuda Ibrahim, who spoke to journalists in Maiduguri, the Borno State capital, said his displaced people have since Monday night been calling for help.
He said residents, from their hideout on the hills, have spotted the gunmen who are preparing to launch another attack on them.
“As we speak now, I am still receiving distress calls from them, they were all crying and calling for help; no soldier or police official had gone there yet.
“The Boko Haram gunmen mounted their flags in Ashigashiya which is now like their headquarters,” he said.
“In last night’s attack, six churches were burnt, eight persons were killed and several others seriously injured. We cannot count the number of houses that were burnt in Chinene village of Chikide-Joghode-Kaghum ward,” said Mr. Ibrahim. “They also attacked Amuda village where one person was killed and several others injured”.
Villagers still in danger
The official expressed worries that the villagers, who are held up in the rocky mountains, may be in danger because as soon as the gunmen find a way, they would attack them.
He added that “currently, as I am talking to you now, the insurgents have mobilised at Izhaghathagwa mountain, planning on how to finish (kill) our people; that is why they have been calling for help before the gunmen climb up to them.”
He listed the names of some of those killed in Chinene village as Bulama Dajiba, Bulama John, Haruna Wadda, Bitrus Kurma, Haruna Kwatha, Haruna Waruda, and Shaibu Galva.
“We are calling on the military authorities in the state to quickly go up there and help us rescue those poor villagers, their wives and children before the imminent danger of the gunmen attack caught them up in the mountains,” he said. “We have a detachment of soldiers that were deployed to Gwoza but none of them cares to go behind the mountains, even though everyone hears the sound of the shootings there”.
A top security personnel confirmed the incident to PREMIUM TIMES and other journalists in Maiduguri.
The source who did not want to be named in this report as he is not authorised to speak with journalists said “we all have received the report from Chinene village. It was really another sad episode there”.
He added that the hoisting of flag in Ashigashiya happened since three weeks ago, and said he was surprised that security forces have not moved to the area.
The Boko Haram has killed over 12,000 people in Northern Nigeria since an insurgency that began in 2009.
The group is also responsible for the kidnap of over 250 teenage female students of the Government Secondary School, Chibok, Borno State.