Posted by News Express | 20 February 2014 | 3,925 times
It was yet another harvest of death yesterday as Boko Haram terrorists launched devastating suicide attacks on the border town of Bama in Borno State, killing about 50 people, according to some estimates. The attacks, yesterday morning, lasted for five hours, a Borno State Senator Ahmed Zanna told the BBC.
Defence spokesman Chris Olukolade told the AFP news agency that the Bama assailants had used bombs and had attacked an army tank.
He said “many” insurgents had been killed but did not comment on civilians or military casualties. Bama town has been attacked several times in the past.
The Defence Headquarters said the attacks were repelled by troops and all was normal again in Bama.
In its own account, the Lagos-based Nation newspaper said Boko Haram also attacked military and security posts, the Emir’s palace and other locations in the town simultaneously, using suicide bombers but could not enter the main army barracks in the town, which they had previously shelled.
It quotes a source as saying: “From preliminary findings, there were strong indications that some suicide bombers could have been involved in the Bama attacks.
“The sect members came into Bama in the night of Tuesday and started attacking various locations in the early hours of Wednesday.
“The idea of suicide bombers being involved was derived from the mode of the attack. They deployed in a lot of explosives to raid Bama.
“Some of the suspected suicide bombers were daring against the military tanks and they attempted to blow up these tanks, but failed in their bid. They risked their lives against tanks. This is why we felt there were suicide bombers among them.
“They made botched moves to destroy these tanks through suicide bombing method. So, it is still a suspicion we are investigating that some suicide bombers were involved.
“The simultaneous attacks have been repelled. The sect incurred a number of losses and a few soldiers got wounded.
“It does not appear so far that there was much civilian casualties.”
Asked why Bama had been susceptible to attack by Boko Haram, the source added: “The terrain of that place is open; anyone can come in from various ends.
“The second factor is that they could easily mingle with the community and spring out at night to attack the town.
“Thirdly, the military has been careful in launching a full-scale onslaught on the town which could lead to the death of many innocent civilians.
“Fourthly, Bama was a strategic base of the Boko Haram which has been regained by the military. Some of their commanders also hailed from the area. They probably felt upset for losing their operational base.”
Defence Headquarters spokesman Maj.-Gen. Chris Olukolade said: “The insurgents attacked Bama in the early hours of Wednesday. They were able to make some destruction but the troops have repelled them.
“The situation has been brought under control and more troops have been sent to Bama. As I am talking to you, mopping up operation is continuing in Bama.
“The troops are combing both the bushes and surrounding locations to fish out the fleeing insurgents, including those wounded.”
Gen. Olukolade said it was too early to give specific casualty figure because “the troops are still mopping up the area.”
In the last one month, both the troops and the insurgents have engaged in a series of clashes in Bama, Lake Chad and Banki.
As at December 30, last year, the Defence Headquarters put the casualty figures of the sect to about 113.
The figures included about 50 Boko Haram insurgents and 15 soldiers that were killed in a pre-dawn attack on Mohammed Kuru Barracks in Bama.
More than 245 people have been killed this year alone by the terrorists. Boko Haram has killed thousands, including many Muslims and Christians, since it began its uprising in 2009.
•Photo courtesy The Nation shows Borno Governor Kashim Shettima assessing damage done by Boko Haram.
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