Death Toll in Chibok Attacks Rises to 53 as FG Denies Knowledge of the Threat Issued
The death toll in the Sunday attacks on communities near Chibok, Borno State, rose on Monday to 53.
Suspected Boko Haram members had invaded Kwada, Katagau and Kautikari villages, all in the Chibok Local Government Area early on Sunday, setting churches ablaze and gunning down worshippers.
Forty-eight people were confirmed dead on Sunday night but reports from Chibok on Monday indicated that the death toll had risen to 53 with some of the injured victims losing the battle to stay alive.
The attack on the Chibok villages followed an earlier attack on April 14 where insurgents abducted well over 200 female pupils of the Government Secondary School in Chibok.
Two weeks ago, the insurgents wrote to the council officials and promised to launch another offensive on the community.
But the Federal Government after the attack denied knowledge of the threat by Boko Haram that it would attack communities around Chibok.
Coordinator, National Information Centre, Mike Omeri, said this on Monday while responding to questions on the preventive measures taken by security operatives against the attacks on Kautikari, Kwada and Karagau villages, denied knowledge of the threat by the violent sect to attack the communities.
He said, “We are not aware of Boko Haram threat letter to the communities. Boko Haram came to the villages, but the security agencies mobilised during the attack and repelled them and also killed a number of the insurgents.
It was further learnt on Monday that residents of the affected communities were fleeing from their homes in droves because they were afraid that the terrorists would come back.
“Residents are fleeing from neighbouring villages into Chibok Local Government secretariat for fear of further attacks from the insurgents,” Ishaya Ibrahim, a resident of one of the affected villages near Chibok, said.
Ibrahim said residents of about 10 villages had decided to flee from their homes following the attacks on Kwada, Katagau and Kautikari.
“I and the others fled to Chibok when we heard rumours that they would come back and we don’t know the next point of attack. Everybody is running to Chibok now. There is even no more space for people to stay inside the local government secretariat; people are now sleeping on mats under trees with their little children,” he said.
Ibrahim claimed that the gunmen wore army uniforms when they attacked a church in Kwada.
He said, “They brought out all the men inside the church and started shooting them, while they chased after anyone that tried to run away with a motorcycle. They also opened fire on everybody in the town as they were running away.
“As of yesterday (Sunday), they killed 31 people inside a church and killed others outside. In the evening, we found other dead bodies inside the bush. On Sunday, the soldiers refused to go to the scene of the attack until after the insurgents had left the place. There is no security presence in Chibok.”
Another indigene claimed that although the military deployed men in five Hilux trucks after they were notified of the attack, they were not able to stop the killings.
He said, “This is the most annoying thing. Two kilometres from where the attack was going on, the military just parked their vehicles under a tree and stayed there after they heard the insurgents’ shooting. And when the fighter jet came, the insurgents moved into people’s houses and stayed there. The jet hovered over them for some time and didn’t see any movement. But instead of the security agents to take advantage of that time and move in, and start rescuing people, they didn’t and later turned back.
“So, we wonder what the Nigerian Army is doing in Chibok. If our people call for us to arm ourselves, they would say that we are criminals. Had it been a few members of our vigilante groups were armed with AK-47 rifles, we believe they might have done something better on Sunday in trying to save some people’s lives.”
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