Wednesday, May 8, 2013

55 people including 22 police officers killed in Boko Haram attack in Bama

At least 55 people were killed as members of the extremist Boko Haram sect attacked a prison, a police base, and other buildings in Bama Town of Borno State.

The attack, which occurred in the morning also saw the release of scores of prisoners by the insurgents, witnesses told PREMIUM TIMES.

The spokesperson for the Joint Task Force in Borno, Sagir Musa, told Reuters that the insurgents killed 22 police officers, 14 prison officials, two soldiers and four civilians.

He said 13 of the Boko Haram members were also killed.

Tuesday’s attack is coming less than two weeks after seven security personnel were killed and about 300 houses burnt when Boko Haram members engaged security officials in a shootout in Bama. The commanding military officer in charge of Bama Barracks, A.G Laka, had told visiting Borno State Governor that 10 members of the insurgent group were killed in the April 25 attack.

Rumours had spread in Bama that members of the sect threatened to avenge the killing of their members.

A top security official who didn’t want his name mentioned told PREMIUM TIMES that scores of inmates were freed when the gunmen attacked Bama prisons and took over the town at about 6 a.m. on Tuesday.

Mr. Musa, a Lieutenant Colonel, later told Reuters that 105 inmates were freed.

The official, who spoke to PREMIUM TIMES said aside from the attack on the prison, “We are aware that a mobile police base there (Bama) was attacked, a school was also attacked, and the palace of the top monarch there was attempted.”

Fleeing residents said a large number of Boko Haram gunmen took to the streets at about the time residents were waking up for the day.

“It was a terrible sight, seeing a large number of gunmen mostly youth carrying, shooting and chanting Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar,” said a local administration staff, Usman Ajari, who made it to Maiduguri.

“We didn’t wait to see what was happening because the shooting was much and the gunmen moving towards the Shehu’s (the traditional ruler’s) palace.”

Hundreds of people have been killed in Borno in several attacks by the Boko Haram on security officials, public buildings, churches, opposition Islamic clerics, and others since 2009.

About 200 civilians were feared killed less than a month ago in Baga Town during a clash between soldiers and insurgents. The actual casualty figure is now a source of multiple investigations.

by Ola' Audu
Published: May 7,2013

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