Boko Haram Takes Over, Hoist Flags in Damboa as Death Toll Rise to Over 100
After days of sustained attacks by gunmen of the Boko Haram sect which resulted to the fleeing of resident and security officials dislodged, the sect has now completely taken over Damboa town in Borno State and has hoisted a flag as a mark of its capture.
This is even as the death toll resulting from the Friday early morning attack that lasted till late Saturday has risen to over 100.
On Saturday, survivors claimed the insurgents had attacked the town of Damboa before dawn on Friday, firing rocket-propelled grenades, throwing locally produced bombs into homes and gunning down people as they tried to escape the ensuing fires.
Over 100 people, including women and children, were killed during an early morning attack on Friday. More were later killed on the evening of the same day while bereaved locals were busy burying their dead.
An official of the Human Rights Watch who spoke off the record confirmed the hoisting of flags in Damboa, even as he said the casualty toll may be higher.
“The town has been taken over by the insurgents and the casualty may be much more than we have already,” said the HRW official. “We have it officially that the insurgents had hoisted their flags in Damboa now.”
Villagers of Dile, Huyum, Lassa, Murtavu, Rimirgo and four other villages in Askira Uba local government area are presently fleeing into Uba town en masse following a threat letter reportedly sent to them by Boko Haram terrorists.
“The people are fleeing in response to a letter purportedly sent to those villages that they would also be attacked. So, about nine major villages are now on the run”, said Gava
A top security official in Maiduguri, who would not want to be named because it was not his job to brief the press, confirmed the hoisting of flags by Boko Haram in Damboa.
“Of course, they hoisted their flags there and we have made all the relevant reports to the authorities. There, also, was an air strike around the area last night which had recorded some degree of success. I can assure you that the game is changing because the military is making a tactical mobilization that will soon bring this to an end.
“The military is acquiring the best of equipment to tackle this situation and the engagement would be handled as a full-scale war because, whether we like it or not, we are in war and we have to treat it as such. The Nigeria military is up to the task, if given all the moral and material support to fight the war,” said the security officer.
The town had been under siege for two weeks, since Boko Haram dislodged soldiers from a new tank battalion camp on its outskirts.
The defence ministry claimed to have repelled the attack and killed at least 50 insurgents for the loss of six soldiers, including the commanding officer, but residents in the area said many soldiers had been killed and that the military had been driven from the base.
According to residents, the extremists had in the past week twice ambushed military convoys trying to reach the base.
The militants cut off access to the town on Monday, when they blew up a bridge to the south of it. Damboa is on the main road south from Maiduguri, the Borno state capital, and at a strategic crossroads for farmers bringing their produce to market.
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