24 Feared Killed As Boko Haram Ambush ‘Civilian JTF’
At least 24 members of the youth vigilante assisting Nigerian security officials to hunt for members of the Boko Haram were on Friday killed after an ambush by members of the sect, military officials said.
The attack took place near Monguno Town, 158km from Maiduguri, the Borno State capital.
A security operative, who doesn’t want to be quoted in the press as he is not permitted to do so, said 36 members of the youth vigilante could not be accounted for, while the corpses of the 24 slain members of ‘Civilian-JTF’ were being retrieved.
“They suffered a massive ambush attack, 24 of them were found dead, while about 36 of them, according to few of them who managed to escape the ambush, could not be accounted for,” the official said.
Escaped vigilante members told security officials that those who attacked them were disguised in military uniform.
‘The vigilante youths numbering over 100 were on a mission to capture some Boko Haram terrorists in their camps around Kaleri, Shuwari, Maganari and Nannari villages around Monguno local government area, before they were ambushed by the terrorists which led to the death of 24 vigilante youths, while about 36 were still missing,” our source said.
The Civilian-JTF are usually accompanied by soldiers when they go on their missions; but on that outing the soldiers did not arrive on time, PREMIUM TIMES learnt.
“When the youths waited to see the arrival of military for some hours without response, they took courage to go ahead to the suspected terrorists’ hideout.
“But unknown to vigilante, the Boko Haram sects who disguised in Military Uniform with three patrol vehicles painted in military camouflage confused them thinking their escorts had arrived ahead. So, as they approached the men in uniform, unsuspectingly, and the terrorists opened fire and killed about 24 of the Civilian JTF,” the source said while stating that about 36 of the youth were still missing
The council chairman of Monguno, Muhammed Nur Monguno, declined to speak to journalists at the Government House, Maiduguri, when he visited to brief the state governor, Kashim Shettima, of the incident on Saturday.
The Civilian-JTF have become the target of the Boko Haram; a situation that has depleted their rank and presence in Maiduguri.
Shehu Ibrahim, a member of the Civilian-JTF, told Journalists in Maiduguri that “we are getting too much attacks and our members deaths is on the rise; I am scared, so are some of my friends in the vigilante.”
“We may back out if we are not protected,” he said.
The state’s foremost monarch, the Shehu of Borno, Abubakar El-Kanemi, had requested for financial and material support for the Civilian-JTF. He was at the general security council meeting held with the state governor and other security chiefs in the state on Saturday.