By Michael Olugbode
Seven persons have been reportedly killed by the Boko Haram sect in Maiduguri, Borno State, thereby causing apprehension among indigenes and non-indigenes of the state.
Among those killed between Wednesday’s night and the early hours of yesterday included six civilian residents and a Nigerian Customs Service (NCS) officer.
The gunmen, according to sources, had stormed Silimanti, Polo area of the town, the location of the bread bakery at about 8.30am and fired some gun shots at the men working at the bakery, killing no fewer than five people
Residents of the area though could not give details of the account of the incident other than that gunshots were heard at a popular bakery in the area where non-indigenes, from Michika in Adamawa State were mostly workers.
One of the residents of the area who volunteered information on condition of anonymity said the assailants must have driven into the bakery quietly in a Gulf saloon car, quietly killed their victims and sneaked away without any hindrance.
Many of those that our correspondent tried to speak with kept mute apparently out of the fear of getting trailed by unknown assailants who might be lurking nearby. But one of the residents who described the development as unfortunate said: “I guess they have been monitoring activities at the bakery for some time and knew when the men usually resume and close work.”
There was no official confirmation from the Joint Task Force (JTF) as at the press time as the spokesman of the task force, Lt Col Sagir Musa, could not be reached on his mobile phone.
Meanwhile, a military source hinted that one of the gunmen was eventually killed while the other one arrested.
However, spokesman of the Police in Borno State, Mr. Samuel Tizhe, confirmed the killings, insisting that “Investigation have since commenced into the killing.”
Tizhe said: “I can confirm to you that a Customs officer and a water hawker were shot dead yesterday while five people were shot dead by suspected Boko Haram members at a bakery this (yesterday) morning.”
Meanwhile, the governor of Borno State, Alhaji Kashim Shettima, has said the battle against the Boko Haram crisis required multi-faceted approach which include a blend of both military solution and dialogue even as lasting institutionalisation of good governance has a role to play.
The governor made this suggestion while playing host to a group of defence attaches in the country led by the Director of Foreign Liaison, Brig. Gen. LKJ Oguneru.
The governor, who said the Boko Haram crisis never started two years ago but over 20 years ago as a result of reaction of government disconnection with Nigerians, said the only solution to it is good governance and government delivery on dividend of democracy.
Shettima said it was lamentable that the crisis seems intractable but it must be known that violence cannot be used against violence where the citizens of a country are concerned, he said:
“Military, yes they can be on ground to provide security to people but it is not the ultimate solution unless the government is alive to its responsibilities.”
The governor who said the nation and its leaders have to address the issue of poverty, unemployment, under-employment among others, added that except we want to engage in endless war of attrition we have to engage the Boko Haram sect in dialogue especially the moderate element.
He however said the nation may have to engage the extreme element and hard liners in exchange of gunfire.
On the part of the state government, Shettima said 500,000 jobs have to be created in the next couple of years, insisting that “we just have to create jobs unless we want to give the Boko Haram a fertile land to recruit the youths.”
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