As members of the Boko Haram were displaced from their Sambisa Forest stronghold and forced back from Maiduguri by the Nigerian Army, indication emerged on Monday that they may have relocated to the southern part of the state.
This caused many motorists to shun the Biu/Maiduguri highway for fear of being waylaid by the sect on the lonely road.
Members of the Boko Haram sect invaded Pela Birni village in Hawul Local Government Area of Borno State, killing two residents and setting ablaze two churches and many residential houses.
Pela Birni is one of the most populated village under Kwajjafa District in southern Borno with a large christian population. It is few kilometres from Garkida town of Adamawa State.
According to eyewitnesses, the gunmen came to the village at about 10pm on Sunday with sophisticated weapons. They opened fire on their targets, displacing hundreds of residents, who are now taking refuge around the mountainous areas of Kwajjafa district and its environs.
Mallam Musa Anjili Pela Birni, who spoke to journalists on the telephone, said he narrowly escaped being killed by the attackers.
He lamented that the house he was sleeping in was among the houses set ablaze.
“The gunmen invaded our village at about 10pm on Sunday, they started shouting ‘God is Great’. In some houses, they did not shoot at the residents but ordered them to vacate their houses and set them ablaze, saying we are here for God work.”
Another resident, who spoke anonymously, said most of the neighbouring houses near the Church of Brethern, were set ablaze,including the church.Two people lost their lives, while many sustained injuries.
He narrated that the gunmen numbering over 50, carried AK47 rifles, petrol bombs and Improvised Explosive Devices and had a field day. They wrecked havoc unhindered on innocent civilians.
The Chairman of Hawul Local Government Area, Dr. Andrew Malgwi, confirmed the incident to journalists. He lamented that the rate at which suspected insurgents were holding people to ransom in Borno State and other states in the North East was worrisome. He, therefore, called for serious prayers from all and sundry.
“Yes, there was an attack in one of my village (Pela Birni) yesterday (Sunday evening), which led to wanton killings and destruction of property. We have communicated to relevant security agencies on the matter, who have swung into action to apprehend the perpetrators. We have also mobilised our people to ascertain the damage and assist the displaced persons as an interim measure,” he said.
The chairman, who expressed shock, said he was said over the “incident where innocent citizens and poor villagers who live from hand to mouth are attacked, killed and have their houses including places of worship burnt down by insurgents for not just cause.”
It can be reported that due to the fear of being attacked on the Biu/Maiduguri road, the Christian Pilgrims from Borno to Jerusalem, who left Maiduguri on Monday for Yola to board a flight, had to avoid the Biu/Maiduguri Road, which should have taken just about five hours for a longer route through Damaturu which took over seven hours.
The pilgrims were advised by the security agents to avoid the dangerous Biu/Maiduguri road.
Meanwhile, Owatapa of Itapa Ijesa, Oba Olapade Agoro, has asked President Goodluck Jonathan to hold some northern leaders responsible for the menace of the Boko Haram sect.
Agoro, who is a former Presidential candidate and founder of National Action Council, said this while speaking in an exclusive interview with our correspondent at Itapa Ijesa on Sunday.
He spoke just as the Oba Odo of Ilesa, Chief Babajide Oduwale, also in an interview with our correspondent, called on political leaders to rally round the President to win the war against terrorism.
According to Agoro, some leaders in the North are sympathetic to the cause of the dreaded Islamic sect, saying the President should handle these leaders with iron hands.
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