By Duku Joel, Damaturu
-Police: Foreigners behind mayhem -CPC, ACN fault President’s trip -Senate meets over insecurity -24-hr curfew in Kaduna, Damaturu
LAWMAKERS resolved yesterday to invite President Goodluck Jonathan to tell them what he is doing to rein in the violence in the land.
Also yesterday, Damaturu, the Yobe State capital, which was the scene of a gun battle on Monday, began counting its loss.
The Nigeria Red Cross, according to its official Andronicus Adeyemo, said 25 people, among them five security operatives, died in the attacks.
But a doctor said the figure of the dead is higher.
“So far, 34 bodies have been taken to the mortuary, but we expect the death toll to rise,” said the doctor, who pleaded not to be named.
A source at the hospital mortuary said: “I counted over 32 bodies, as at noon. It is over three hours now and I am sure the number may increase to 40 or even 50 because I saw police still bringing in bodies in batches.
“I also counted five dead policemen in uniform.”
In Kaduna, there was tension as clashes were reported in some areas. The government reimposed a 24-hour curfew, which it had earlier to 12 hours.
Damaturu remained deserted all yesterday. Many families have been displaced.
Commissioner of Police Patrick Egbuniwe said: “Our men are still mopping up the town. So, we cannot, at the moment, tell you exactly how many of the sect members were killed but many of them were killed.
“We lost three policemen, four hospitalised with gunshot wounds. They were not able to get the Area Command Office and the Police Headquarters. They were repelled.
“Their attack was mainly on security agents and government property. A UBE primary school in Sabon Pegi was bombed by the attackers,” Egbuniwe said.
The police chief said 32 arrests were made, adding that his men were on patrol and that the situation was under control.
Residents of Pompomari, a Damaturu suburb, have all left their homes.
Those who have relatives in the estates which seem to be relatively peaceful for now, have relocated to such places. Scores of others, mostly women and children, were seen at Waziri Ibrahim Estate Primary School and the Junior Day Secondary School Susuma. They were in deplorable conditions.
Some of the children were crying for water and food.
Our correspondent gathered that most of the families abruptly left their homes without any contigency plan.
Aisha, 34, a mother of five at the Susuma Secondary School, told our correspondent that the only thing she could think of was her children and not food.
“We only had to get out of that war zone for our safety. It is only today that we are thinking about food. Though my last child cried throughout the night for food, it’s better that we are alive,” Aisha said.
The problems of the displaced women and children, The Nation learnt is further complicated by the 24-hour curfew imposed on Damaturu as nobody could go out to search for food or water.
Governor Ibrahim Gaidam imposed a 24-hour curfew within Damaturu metropolis.
A statement by Abdullahi Bego, his Special Assistant on Presss Affairs and Information, reads: “Residents are hereby directed to remain in their homes while officers and men of the Joint Task force (JTF) and other security agencies continue with their effort to ensure peace and security and the protection of lives and property.
“The 24-hour curfew directive is for Damaturu metropolis only. Restriction of movement for other parts of the State, except Potiskum Town, still remains 10pm to 6am daily. Restriction of movement in Potiskum Town remains 6.00pm to 6.00am daily.
“Governor Gaidam calls on members of the general public to continue to give maximum cooperation to the JTF and other security agencies in their effort to ensure the safety of life and property.
“The Governor also calls on people not to relent in their prayers for the Almighty Allah (SWT) to restore peace in our state and the nation in general”.
Also yesterday, the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) and the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) lashed out at the President for going to Brazil when Nigeria is not at peace.
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