Why We Struck Baga, JTF Explains…As Gov Shettima Weeps on Visit
Following the allegations by residents of Baga community that the soldiers who could not overpower the Boko Haram gunmen on Friday night returned later in the early hours of Saturday to kill their children and women as well as burn down over 2000 houses, the commander of the Joint Task Force, JTF in Borno state, Brigadier General Austin Edokpaye has given an account of what transpired during the clash.
Brigadier General Edokpaye said the high casualty, mostly children and women recorded in the clash between it and the insurgents came as a result of the insurgent’s use of civilians as human shields while the fighting raged.
According to him: “When we reinforced and returned to the scene, the terrorists came out with heavy firepower, including rocket-propelled grenades which usually has a conflagration effect. We lost an officer during the attack on our men on patrol. We’ve received an intelligence that some suspected Boko Haram members usually pray and hide arms at a particular mosque in the town. It was around that mosque that our men were attacked with several of them injured and an officer died.”
Meanwhile, the Borno state governor, Kashim Shettima while visiting Baga yesterday failed to hold back tears following the wanton destruction of lives and properties in the bloody gunfire exchange between the JTF and the insurgents that left more than 185 children, women and other villagers dead with virtually all the homes razed by vengeance seeking JTF soldiers.
The governor has promised to relocate to Baga until he is sure that the people there are safe.
While urging residents who escaped from their homes in the aftermath of heavy gun fighting, to return as efforts were being put in place to avoid a recurrence, the governor said “If the harassment continues, I will personally relocate from Maiduguri to here and let me be harassed along with the rest of the people.”
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