From Madu Onuorah (Abuja), Ali Garba (Bauchi) and Njadvara Musa (Maiduguri)
Army introduces new anti-terrorism device
VIOLENCE is yet to abate in some parts of the North and the nation’s security personnel seems to be the main target now. Three policemen attached to the Bauchi State Command were killed yesterday by suspected Boko Haram gunmen.
On Wednesday, armed men belonging to the same Boko Haram sect, attacked and set ablaze the Gubio Divisional Police Station in Borno State, killing two of the security agents while a civilian was hit by a stray bullet. The incident occurred at about 1.00 p.m.
Meanwhile, the Nigerian Army has introduced a locally- produced vehicle stopper aimed at helping to check terror attacks by bomb-vehicles.
Two inspectors and a corporal were those sent to their early graves in the Bauchi attack. The gunmen were said to have made away with three police rifles after opening fire at the security agents who were on active patrol along the Bauchi-Gombe Road.
It was learnt that the policemen had just resumed duty at the patrol spot when the gunmen opened fire at them. According to a source, the fourth policeman narrowly escaped death with his rifle and ran into the bush.
The Public Relations Officer of the state police command, Mohammed Auyo, confirmed the attack to newsmen in his office. Auyo said investigation had been launched into the attack. According to him, a team of policemen had combed the scene of the attack in search of the culprits. The PPRO expressed optimism that the hoodlums would be apprehended.
He solicited useful information from members of the public that will assist the police in arresting the suspects. No group has claimed responsibility for the attack.
In Borno, an eyewitness and resident of the Gubio area, Ibrahim Hassan, said “the gang of gunmen came in three unmarked vehicles with Kalashnikov rifles chanting ‘God is great’ and attacked the Gubio Divisional Police Station with petrol-bombs and Improvised Explosives Devices (IEDs), before marching to the local council secretariat complex and set it ablaze in the afternoon.
He said residents living near the police station and the secretariat complex had to scamper for safety as shops and some market stalls were hurriedly closed by traders.
“The policemen were taken unawares when gunmen numbering about 25 attacked the divisional police station and our local council secretariat this afternoon. The two buildings were set ablaze, using some IEDs and petrol-bombs shooting sporadically to scare us,” Hassan said. “After the attacks, two policemen were seen lying on the ground”, he added.
Speaking on the incidents yesterday, the Borno State Police Commissioner, Bala Hassan, said two police officers on duty were killed while three others were wounded in an attempt to protect the station from the rampaging gunmen.
He said no arrests had been made, as efforts to track down the Boko Haram terrorists were being intensified with information provided by some residents of Gubio yesterday.
Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Azubuike Ihejirika, said the new device, which was distributed to nine churches and mosques each, is aimed at curtailing the spate of terror attacks directed at worship centres by the Boko Haram sect.
According to Ihejirika, “the device is so unique that it can stop any vehicle that comes into contact with it from any direction.” It was locally-produced by the same unit of the Nigerian Army engineers led by the Director of Policy (Army), Maj.-Gen. Ekwenugo Richard Chioba. The unit had earlier constructed the indigenous Armoured Personnel Carrier (APC) commissioned by President Goodluck Jonathan on July 2, 2012.
The Chief of Army Staff said “the unfolding security challenges confronting the nation amongst which is the Boko Haram terrorist menace have continued to hinder the progress of the transformation agenda of Mr. President as well as the development of the nation at large. The terrorists over the years have continued to attack places of worship (churches and mosques) in order to destabilise the nation.”
Represented by the Chief of Civil Military Affairs, Nigerian Army, Maj.-Gen. Bitrus Kwaji, Gen. Ihejirika stated that production of the vehicle stopper became imperative because “it has been discovered that most attacks of suicide bombers are being carried out with vehicles loaded with Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs). The mode of operation is simple as a suicide bomber drives his vehicle straight into his target and explosion occurs. In order to disallow bombers from reaching their targets, this invention comes in handy as it forcefully stops (and hangs on) any vehicle that comes into contact with it.”
He said that the Army provided the stoppers to worship centres as part of its corporate social responsibility, adding those who need more “could decide to make more as the technology is very simple to understand.”
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