By Njadvara Musa, Maiduguri
Insurgents raid Yobe towns, cart away food items
ABOUT four people were injured yesterday afternoon when an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) was detonated by a suspected Boko Haram sect member at the Gambouru market in Maiduguri, the Borno State capital.
Also yesterday morning, suspected Boko Haram gunmen attacked Fika and Ngalda towns in Yobe State, carting away grains and other food items.
They set on fire many public buildings, telecom masts, private houses and shops, and later fled into Sambisa Forest. The attackers, according to a resident, Mainasara Ali, looted several shops and loaded barns of grains into their trucks before setting the stores ablaze.
Eyewitnesses at the scene of the market attack in Maiduguri said that the device was detonated at around 1.30 p.m. yesterday.
Gambo Isa, a shop owner said: “The suspected may have planted this explosive device last night when the curfew was extended to 10 p.m. instead of 7 p.m. to celebrate Democracy Day in Maiduguri metropolis.
Also, we suspect that the suicide bomber that blew himself at the market mosque of Adam Kolo might have collaborated with the suspected bomber of Gambouru market that injured four traders and other passersby.”
He said as he was attending to customers in the afternoon, a loud explosion was heard in the market, with many people running into various directions for safety.
“The team of Nigerian Red Cross and other rescue volunteers evacuated the injured ones to the hospital for treatment,” said Isa.
The military and police have already cordoned the market to prevent further attacks and looting of shops by miscreants. The Guardian also learnt that the market has witnessed several deadly attacks by insurgents in the last three years.
Yesterday’s blast occurred barely 24 hours after a suicide bomber sneaked into the Adam Kolo Mosque near the Maiduguri Monday Market during the afternoon prayers and killed 26 worshippers, injuring 28 others.
Fika and Ngalda, 155 kilometres and 176 kilometres southwest of Damaturu, the Yobe State capital are farming and cattle rearing communities.
“We were terrified with yesterday’s attacks on our houses and shops by these insurgents who are desperately looking for food to survive in the forest, but they did not kill any anybody here.
All our shops and barns were looted. They also destroyed council offices and health centre, south of the central market,” Ali said yesterday in Damaturu.
He said the insurgents chanted God is great in Arabic before torching public buildings, including the council secretariat complex, Local Education Authority offices, and Magistrate Court complex.
He added that all the houses and shops of local council officials residing in Fika town and other places were also burnt.
“We will continue to fight whosoever identified himself/herself with Nigerian government, which we consider as anti-Islam.
We will not relent or surrender until we impose strict Sharia law for people to adhere to,” said one of the insurgents, while loading food items and grains into a waiting truck at about 8 p.m., according to an eyewitness.
Ali Fika, another resident said: “Boko Haram insurgents on Saturday evening also attacked Ngalda town in Fika local council at midnight and burnt the council secretariat, High Court complex before looting shops and barns into their trucks.
“Other public buildings razed are the Local Education Authority (LEA) office, government lodge and other public facilities and health centres.”
Confirming yesterday’s attacks, Yobe State Police Command said there were no casualties from the multiple attacks on Fika and Ngalda.
The command however said: “Any moment from now or first thing tomorrow morning (Monday), our Divisional Police Officer (DPO) will send in his report.”
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