Dozens of traders at a rural market in Borno State may have been killed and several others injured during an attack by Boko Haram members yesterday afternoon, eyewitnesses and security operatives have said.
Also, gunmen in army and police uniforms, suspected to be cattle rustlers, yesterday at about 12 pm stormed Tadabale Village in Isa local government area in Sokoto State, killing two people and making away with over 8000 livestock, locals confirmed to LEADERSHIP Weekend.
Gunmen in Borno, in their dozens attacked Mainok Village market, which is about 60km away from Maiduguri, at exactly 1:30pm. The attack seemed to be a desperate quest by the insurgents to get food and related consumables, as they were said to have carted away food items and money from the traders.
Mainok Village, which is in Kaga local government area of Borno State, has suffered several attacks, especially by Boko Haram gunmen who normally attack it on market days.
A traveller, Alloy Ikechukwu, who witnessed the incident told newsmen in Maiduguri that the gunmen commenced their attack on the market as the luxury bus he was travelling in from Lagos was passing through the village.
“I boarded a luxury bus from Lagos and as soon as we arrived Mainok at exactly 1.30pm, we heard heavy gunshots from the western part of the market and sporadic gunshots followed. Hundreds of traders and residents fled the market in confusion, running to cross the highway to the other side while vehicles passing through the town were also making attempts to flee the town. It was such a confusion,” he said.
“Many people may have been killed, judging from the way the insurgents were shooting at the crowd,” he said. He also said many of the fleeing villagers were hit by vehicles speeding away from the area. He said he saw them falling and bleeding. “Vehicles were hitting one another and the Boko Haram kept shooting,” he added.
A senior security operative in Maiduguri who confirmed the incident, as he claimed to have also witnessed the attack, said that from the sound of the first shot fired at the market, it was clear that there was danger afoot.
“The attackers first fired rapid propelled grenade into the middle of the market before they started firing into the midst of the confused traders,” he said.
The security operative added that many may have been killed, but that the actual number of casualties involved could not be ascertained.
“The death toll may be high, because there were many people in the market and the amount of shooting that we heard before we began to flee would certainly affect many people,” he said.
Confirming the incident from the police and officials of the Nigerian Army proved difficult, because telecommunication networks were shut down throughout yesterday.
Reasons for this could not be ascertained, but many residents concluded that the solders may have been carrying out a special operation in somewhere.
2 killed in Sokoto Village, Over 8000 Livestock stolen
Gunmen in army and police uniforms suspected to be cattle rustlers, yesterday at about 12 pm stormed Tadabale Village of Isa local government in Sokoto State, killing two persons and making away with over 8000 livestock, locals confirmed to LEADERSHIP Weekend.
A resident of the village, Abubakar Nuhu, while narrating their ordeal in a telephone conversation, said the gunmen came in large numbers and cordoned off the village.
According to him, those in military uniform entered the village, while those in police uniform surrounded the village while the operation lasted.
Tadabale Village shares the border with Zamfara State, which has of recent suffered several attacks by cattle rustlers.
“They wore military uniforms, but from all indication they were Fulani, because they were speaking the Fulani language. When they came and started shooting, everybody began to run helter-skelter for their dear lives.
“While they were shooting, they killed Arzika Sarkin Pawa who has four wives and 25 children. They also killed Yusuf Abdullahi who has one wife with five children. As I’m talking to you now, their corpses are still in pools of blood, as everybody ran away from the village into hiding places.
“After killing those two people, the Fulani cattle rustlers then controlled over 5000 cows and another 3000 sheep into their way as we watched them go helplessly,” Nuhu lamented.
When asked if such an accident had ever happened before in the area, Nuhu recalled that it was the second time such ugly situation had befallen the village. He said that the first time, the attackers looted shops and other property after firing shots to scare the villagers.
When contacted on the incident, the Sokoto State command police public relations officer, El-Mustapha Sani assured LEADERSHIP Weekend that he would make the details of the incident available, as soon as he links up with his men in charge of the area.