Boko Haram Still In Charge Of Bama – Residents
Residents of Bama town of Borno State yesterday punctured the federal government’s claims that the Nigerian troops had recaptured their seized community from the Boko Haram terrorists.
The people of Bama under the aegis of “Bama Development Association (BDA)”, during a press conference, lamented that women and children were still held while the terrorists were still in charge.
The rebuttal came at the same time the state Committee on Displaced Persons from Bama was also saying that more people from Bama community were still trooping into Maiduguri yesterday even as over 7,000 of the displaced had so far been registered at the various camps.
Alhaji Mohammed Hassan, the chairman of BDA, said: “From Monday to date, about 11 days now, Bama, the second largest local government area in Borno, is under the custody and control of the dreaded Boko Haram sect; this is the whole truth and nothing but the truth.”
Hassan lamented that “after 11 days of the invasion and takeover of Bama, no search-and-rescue operation has been conducted; no damage assessment has been made, even though the security and welfare of citizens is the fundamental and constructional obligation of any meaningful government”.
“We are calling on state and federal governments to expedite action towards reclaiming Bama from the hands of terror as those in captivity are under serious trauma, starvation, distress with serious degree of injuries while, on the other hand, those that have lost their lives are yet to be buried,” the BDA leader said.
The group said they could not account for more women and children that had got missing in the process of fleeing through rivers. “Some of the women and children had drowned at River Yadzaram in the process of fleeing, while others were shot dead… Apart from those in captivity, others who managed to cross the river were killed in the nearby villages, and we still have not been able to recover their corpses for proper burial.”
The chairman of the Borno Committee on Displaced Persons, Alhaji Jidda Shuwa, said “over 7,000 displaced persons had arrived Maiduguri in the last 11 days, mostly on foot”.
He also denied claims that Bama had been recaptured. “With due respect to the military, going by the report I have received just this morning from the 133 displaced Bama residents that arrived Maiduguri today, Bama is still under the control of the Boko Haram terrorists. Though I am reliably aware of the military pushing towards Bama, but for now the town is still under the control of the terrorists,” Jidda said.
Similarly, Borno elders have also berated the failure of the military to reclaim territories, days and months after they were seized. The elders alleged it was deliberate neglect of the state by the central government in spite the Boko Haram insurgency: “Borno State has been in total blackout for nearly three months,” said Dr Bulama Mali Gubio, a renowned Borno elder who functions as spokesman of the elders. “The federal government, taking cover under the claim of insecurity, failed to restore power to Borno, even when it was clear to us that the line to Maiduguri was damaged by an incident involving a Nigeria Air Force plane.
“Every economic activity has been grounded. This too has further expanded our web of despair. The authorities concerned should make it a point of moral duty to quickly restore power supply to Borno State even if they may resort to using different routes from the one they fear approaching. We were alarmed to learn that the extension of the 330KVA line to Maiduguri has been deliberately delayed. We were reliably informed that the materials meant for Borno were diverted to another state. We plead that those materials be brought back to Borno and the extension be completed in good time. Complete darkness is also an ingredient to insecurity.
“The Boko Haram Insurgents have been dishing out instructions to our people in the rural areas. In most of those areas, they have been patrolling streets, preaching and passing judgments including enforcing capital punishment. In most of those areas, our soldiers have abandoned their posts. Our soldiers have abandoned most areas from Gwoza to Gamboru-Ngala to Baga – stretching 10 local government areas. The people were cowed to accept their authority. It is really devastating and unthinkable that Nigeria can accept such ugly development in any part of its territory.
“It is curious to note that each time insurgents were to embark on an attack on any community, our soldiers abandon their position, paving easy access to the insurgents to have unimpeded and unchallenged plundering.
“ The often repeated claim by our soldiers was that they were not well equipped and that Boko Haram has superior firepower. However, it is sad to note that most of the weapons used by Boko Haram were the same weapons abandoned by our soldiers and those they carted away from barracks and other military formations. It is apparent that lack of patriotism, courage and purposeful leadership are the bane of our soldiers. The records of our soldiers in peacekeeping operations under the United Nations in various parts of the world had been a source of pride to us as a nation. So one wonders what has happened to the gallantry of our men in uniform. Our soldiers need to receive special attention from the government. They need to be encouraged and emboldened. They need to be re-oriented to be patriotic and courageous.
“For now, much devastation prevails in our part of the country. Apart from the dead, many of whom we could not properly bury, our towns and villages remain desolate and in ruins. We are battling to cope with thousands of widows, orphans, the wounded and maimed as well as refugees taking shelter in various places in and outside Nigeria. The giant of Africa which has been contributing to the rescue and peacekeeping of many other countries has effectively allowed its own citizens to reach this level of disillusionment and despair. From God we come and to God we shall all return, no matter how short or long it takes.
“Meanwhile, starvation is imminent. As there were no farming activities throughout Borno State this farming season, food crisis cannot be wished away. From time immemorial, small-scale subsistent farming has been the mainstay of the economy. Where the poor who is able and willing has been prevented from farming, he is about sentenced to death. A proactive and concrete plan must be on ground to ensure that the remaining population do not perish due to starvation. Our animals have already been either rustled or died in their numbers.”
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