Boko Haram insurgents have attacked Shuwa and Karchinga villages in the Madagali Local Government Area of Adamawa State, killing three persons, burning shops and two clinics.
A village head in Magadali LGA told one of newsmen on Tuesday that the insurgents came to the community at about 6pm on Monday.
“But we mistook them for soldiers because they wore military camouflage and came in army vehicles,” he said.
The Nigerian Army on Tuesday confirmed the attacks on the communities in Madagali Local Government Area, saying troops of the 143 Battalion engaged the insurgents.
The army said its troops were in pursuit of the fleeing insurgents.
One of our correspondents gathered that the terrorist attacks lasted for about two hours, with the Boko Haram fighters looting shops and stealing foodstuffs.
A community head in Karchinga, Mr Lawan Abubakar, said the terrorists destroyed about 40 shops in his village and killed two persons in the market square.
He said, “On Monday, I saw three vehicles of the army and four anti-aircraft guns. We thought the occupants of the vehicles were personnel of the Nigerian Army on patrol. They passed through our village and our people, even our hunters, were relaxed because we mistook them for soldiers.
“It was later we learnt they went to Shuwa, destroyed shops for about two hours and they came back to Karchinga, my village where they destroyed about 40 shops. All our food items and shops were looted and burnt. They killed two persons here (Karchinga); one at the market square and one on the street.
“The people thought they were soldiers of the Nigerian Army. The usual way the terrorists come is to shoot sporadically into the air and then invade the community. But on Monday evening, they came in without suspicion and they started looting and burning houses.”
Another witness said, “The Boko Haram terrorists are believed to be members of the Abubakar Shekau faction of the sect. They killed one person in Shuwa and two in Karchinga. They attacked us at about 6.30pm and fired rocket-propelled grenades. They forced the policemen to flee, stealing vehicles, a police van and looting shops and houses.”
The Deputy Director, Army Public Relations, and spokesperson for the military’s Operation Lafiya Dole, Col. Onyema Nwachukwu, confirmed that the terrorists killed three persons but added that they only burnt a shop, a health care centre and a market.
He said, “Troops were alerted to an attack on Shuwa by the Boko Haram terrorists who had infiltrated the village through Karchinga on a looting mission, to which the troops of 143 Battalion responded. They fiercely engaged the insurgents and curtailed their incursion.
“The troops recovered one hand grenade and six rounds of anti-aircraft ammunition. Sadly, before the troops arrived at the scene of crime, the insurgents had killed three persons, looted and torched a shop, a health care centre and a local market.
“It is pertinent to further inform Nigerians that calm has been restored in Shuwa village, while Madagali, Michika, Gulak and Baza towns remain peaceful and firmly under the control of the troops.”
Meanwhile, the troops of the Operation Sharan Daji, claimed they neutralised nine bandits, arrested five others and rescued two persons they kidnapped.
This, the troops said, was done in collaboration with other security agencies and local vigilantes around Zamfara and Katsina states.
The acting Force Information Officer, Maj. Clement Abiade, in his weekly bulletin on the activities of the Operation Sharan Daji, stated that the troops conducted clearance operations in Shinkafi, Birnin Magaji, Sunke Forest in Zamfara State and Safana, Runka, Kunkan Sama in Katsina State.
In another development, six suspects, including a tanker driver accused of supplying petroleum products to bandits at the Gando Forest, were apprehended at Kwana Mayanchi.
Items recovered from the suspects, he said, included a round of 7.62mm special ammunition, a motorcycle and large quantity of illicit drugs.
Others recovered items were 45 gallons of fuel, seven drums of fuel, a tanker vehicle and a water pumping machine.
Abiade added that two suspected bandits’ accomplices, Yusuf Mohammed and Abubakar Dabo, were arrested at the Kwana Maji-Sunke Forest with large quantity of illicit drugs.
He said the suspects had been handed over to the appropriate authorities for investigation and possible prosecution.
Abiade reiterated the Force Commander and the men of Operation Sharan Daji’s determination to flush out bandits from Zamfara State.
In a related development, the troops of the Operation Whirl Stroke in Benue State on Monday engaged suspected armed herdsmen at Tomatar village in Guma Local Government Area of the state.
The Force Commander, OPWS, Maj. Gen. Adeyemi Yekini, said the bandits tried to invade the community but were repelled by the troops.
Yekini, in a telephone chat with one of correspondents, said, “Yes, the bandits tried to invade Tomatar general area in Guma but the troops engaged them in a gun battle and inflicted heavy injuries on them.”