There seems to be no end in sight to the Boko Haram insurgency as gunmen, believed to be members of the sect, have ambushed and killed 18 traders returning from a local market in Borno State.
It was gathered that the sect members attacked two buses on the Bama-Gwoza road and shot dead 18 traders, who were returning from a market at Pulka on Tuesday at about 4pm.
Pulka is Nigerian border town with Cameroon and 119 kilometres south of Maiduguri, the state capital.
The marauders, according to an eyewitness, Hamba Tada, ambushed the traders, who were going back to their homes after selling their wares, at Wala village, 10 kilometres to Gwoza.
The eyewitness said the traders were ordered to disembark from the two buses conveying them and subsequently asked to identify themselves by the insurgents.
Tada added, “After chanting God is great in Arabic, the insurgents asked the traders to identify themselves first, before the drivers are allowed to proceed on the barricaded road. When you identify yourself as a Gwoza resident, the gunmen shoot and kill the person.
“Unfortunately, all the occupants of the two buses are residents of the town, and that was how the traders were shot and killed.
“Non-residents of Gwoza on that road, after the insurgents mounted a road block at Wala, were allowed free passage, without being killed.”
He explained that the selective killings at the village might be as a result of the sect’s belief that the people of Gwoza town might have provided information to military and other security agencies, which led to a clampdown on the sect, leading to the arrest of one of the sect’s commanders last month.
He claimed that the Bama-Gwoza road was not well patrolled by security agencies.
Tada said, “We sighted about two patrol vehicles last Sunday in the evening towards the Sambisa Forest, but the following day, Monday, no military or police vehicle passes on this road to protect us from the activities of the insurgents. The absence of soldiers on this road enables the gunmen to strike easily and kill.
“After perpetrating their heinous crimes, the gunmen flee into the top of Mandara Mountains and Sambisa Forest; and then return to this road to ambush and kill innocent people. The insurgents know these terrains better than the military and it is easy for them to perpetrate terrorists activities in the Bama-Gwoza areas.”