• Gunmen slay eight, hoist flags in Borno villages 

• Obasanjo holds talks to free schoolgirls

• Cameroun sends troops to Nigeria 

• Parents of abductees fault panel over rescue bid 

GUNMEN suspected to be members of Boko Haram  have killed 10 soldiers and 14 policemen, including a police divisional officer (DPO), in Yobe State.

The gunmen  who used  Toyota Hilux vehicles, an Armoured Personnel Carrier (APC) and motorcycles laden with explosives, attacked military posts and a police station at Buni/Yadi  at 5:00 p.m. on Monday.

On the heels of this, gunmen who were also suspected to be Boko Haram members  Tuesday   killed  eight  people at  Chinene village in Gwoza council area, Borno State . They set several houses and shops ablaze.

Chinene is a farming border community with Cameroun and 134 kilometres southeast of Maiduguri, the state capital.

The insurgents, according to a top military officer in Gwoza also hoisted their flags at Ashigashiya town and other hill settlements of

Hwa’a, Kunde, Tihize, Tacha and Hirdimbe, as their claimed strongholds east of Sambisa Forest, where the abducted Chibok schoolgirls are still held for over a month.

Tada Mbicho, a resident of Chinene told The Guardian Tuesday in a telephone interview that the insurgents burst into the village by 2:00 a.m. and started firing sporadically, while the villagers were still asleep. He said that among the slain villagers was an 80-year-old woman .

On how the village was attacked, he said: “Some terrorists came to our community yesterday evening when we were asleep. They chanted ‘God is great in Arabic’, before shooting sporadically at fleeing residents. They killed some people, while other villagers sustained gunshot wounds. They had a field day as we could not confront them when all of them were carrying AK47 rifles, and petrol bombs and explosives. After killing some of us, they later went to two  churches , shops , houses  and set them ablaze .

“As I am talking to you now, we are yet to bury the dead, as most people have fled this village for fear of further attacks. We are destabilised; as if we don’t have a government or security in place. It is worrisome and frightening to all of us here at this border area.”

The Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), DSP Gideon Jubrin , could not be reached as his  phones were switched off.  But a top police source confirmed the incident yesterday in Maiduguri. He said some villagers were feared dead in the Tuesday’s attacks .

Other public buildings and facilities destroyed in the Yobe attacks included a magistrate’s

court, the council’s secretariat complex, district head’s official residence, and several vehicles parked on the premises of destroyed public buildings and police station.

According to an eyewitness and resident of Buni/Yadi, the gunmen came into the town by 5:00 p.m. on Monday and chanted “God is great in Arabic” before attacking two military posts with explosives and petrol bombs on Biu road.

“We were shocked and terrified in the evening when a gang of armed Boko Haram burst into this town, chanting that they were here for the soldiers and policemen; and not civilians that live here.  They said ‘Don’t panic, we will not touch you. All of you are safe today (Monday).’  After they attacked the military posts, they proceeded to the police station, magistrate’s court and our council secretariat complex; and put fire on them .

“Some of the people, however, fled their houses and shops for safety, despite the assurance of attackers not to kill anyone of them. Residents

living near the police station and military posts, however, fled to nearby bushes and farmlands, while others relocated to Gujba and

Goniri Tuesday morning.”

He said that after the torching of public buildings  and district head’s residence, no civilian was killed in  the Monday’s attacks.

He said that the bodies of the soldiers and policemen  feared killed had been taken to the Sani Abacha Specialists Hospital, Damaturu for identification by security agencies.

Confirming the incident Tuesday in Damaturu, the Yobe State Police Commissioner, Markus K. Danladi said that armed hoodlums attacked Buni/Yadi Monday evening and that over a dozen security personnel were feared dead.

Meanwhile, a news agency, Reuters, disclosed Tuesday that Cameroun had deployed  1,000 troops and armoured vehicles to its border region with Nigeria as it stepped  up its military presence to counter a rising threat from Boko Haram .

Reuters quoted defence ministry spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Didier Badjeck as saying that  about 1,000 Special Forces of Cameroon’s rapid intervention brigade (BIR) left the capital on Monday. Several new  generation  armoured vehicles were deployed three days earlier, he said.

“Their mission will be to carry out reconnaissance and be ready to respond with enough fire power,” Badjeck told Reuters by telephone from Yaounde. “They are patrolling in northern region at the moment.”

Badjeck said the deployment was part of Cameroun’s effort to increase its military presence in the border region. It had already deployed an additional 700 troops under a joint regional effort to fight Boko Haram, announced in March.

Another news agency, Agence France Presse (AFP), said yesterday that former President Olusegun Obasanjo had met with people close to Boko Haram in an attempt to broker the release of  the more than 200 kidnapped  schoolgirls.

A source close to the talks told AFP  the  meeting took place last weekend at Obasanjo’s farm in  Ogun State and included relatives of some senior Boko Haram fighters as well as intermediaries and the former president, the source said.

“The meeting was focused on how to free the girls through negotiation,” said the source  who requested anonymity, referring to the girls seized on April 14 from the remote northeastern town of Chibok, Borno State.

Spokesmen for the former head of state, who remains an influential figure in Nigerian politics, could not be reached to comment on the latest reported Boko Haram talks.

But the source told AFP that Obasanjo had voiced concern about Nigeria’s acceptance of foreign military personnel to help rescue the girls.

“He said he is worried that Nigeria’s prestige in Africa as a major continental power had been diminished” by President Goodluck Jonathan’s decision to bring in Western military help, including from the United States.

Mustapha Zanna, the lawyer who helped organise Obasanjo’s 2011 talks with Boko Haram, said he was at the former president’s home on Saturday.

But he declined to discuss whether the Chibok abductions were on the agenda.

“I was there,” he told AFP, adding that Obasanjo was interested in helping orphans and vulnerable children in Nigeria’s embattled northeast and that possible charitable work was on the agenda.

Zanna had represented Yusuf’s family in a wrongful death lawsuit filed against the government following his death in police custody.

It was not clear if Obasanjo’s weekend meeting had been sanctioned by the government.

Besides, the Chibok community and  stakeholders, including parents of the over 200 abducted schoolgirls, have faulted the Presidential Fact-Finding Committee (PFFC) on abduction of students for its failure to “sit and meet” with the people on how to rescue the girls .

Parents of the abducted girls allegedly described the decision by the presidential committee as nothing short of irresponsibility and an insult to their sensibility as human beings and citizens of Nigeria.

Maina Ndrilbula, a parent, in a telephone interview in Maiduguri yesterday, said: “It is a pity that we were all first insulted by President Goodluck Jonathan even after his belated plan to visit them had to be shelved and now a committee which was set up to find ways of identifying the reason behind the abducted schoolgirls found reason to equally shun them for two days last week.”

Meanwhile, Limankara border community in Gwoza Local Council of Borno State has petitioned President Goodluck Jonathan and the Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Mohammed Abubakar, over the Boko Haram .

The petition, according to the District Head, Alhaji Abdulkareem Wahab; Ward Head of Limankara, Mr. Zephaniah Tada; and three representatives, John Mark Hodo, James Dauda Chihwa and Aliyu Usman Kutho, has become inevitable in the protection of life and property against insurgents in the border areas with Cameroun and Chad.

The Senate Majority Leader, Victor Ndoma Egba, yesterday asked the Boko Haram  to release the over 200 schoolgirls it kidnapped from Chibok, Borno State 43 days ago.

Ndoma-Egba, who spoke at the commencement of Senate plenary session yesterday in Abuja, urged the abductors to release the girls in the spirit of the Children’s Day celebration.

This was just as Senator Uche Chukwumerije wondered why the Chief of Defence Staff, Alex Badeh, would say that the military had discovered the camps where the abducted Chibok girls were being held only to describe it as a military secret.

source : http://ngrguardiannews.com/lead-story/163229-insurgents-kill-10-soldiers-14-policemen