Nigerian Troop Repels Boko Haram Attack on Bama, Kills Over 60 Insurgents
A contingent of the Nigerian military on Monday repelled an attack by members of the Boko Haram who advanced into Bama town in Borno State in a bid to expand their Islamic caliphate already established in Gwoza and surrounding communities.
It would be recalled that the sect had last week declared a caliphate in Gwoza, a town 135km from Maiduguri, and may be aiming to get further mileage towards Maiduguri.
Bama is one of the largest towns in Borno, and a capture of the city would have further given vent to the determination of the sect to take over Maiduguri, the state capital.
The Nigerian Defence Headquarters which confirmed the attack in a statement assured that the attack on Bama “is being repelled by the Nigerian troops”, adding that it “cannot state casualty situation/figures now. Everything necessary will be done to contain the terrorists.”
It would be recalled that the sect had last week declared a caliphate in Gwoza, a town 135km from Maiduguri, and may be aiming to get further mileage towards Maiduguri. Bama is one of the largest towns in Borno, and a capture of the city would have further given vent to the determination of the sect to take over Maiduguri, the state capital.
A security source, said 59 out of about 200 insurgents who invaded the town fell to the “superior weapon handling and war tactics of the soldiers.” He revealed that more than 30 insurgents were also left injured with various bullet wounds as the majority of the terrorists were compelled to retreat through the bush.
Some residents of Bama, who spoke to journalists in Maiduguri after fleeing the town, said they woke up early Monday morning to heavy bombardment as gunshots rent the air.
One of the residents said, “There was pandemonium everywhere, as we continued to hear deafening gunshots and we later heard that more than 200 Boko Haram terrorists attempted to capture the town.
“We also learnt that they stormed the town through Bama-Banki-Gwoza road but they were intercepted by gallant military soldiers near the Bama Mobile Police Unit located about 5km away from the center of the town.
“They were believed to have tactically attempted to enter Bama town in convoy of military vehicles and motorcycles, dressed in military uniform and armed with sophisticated weapons and improvised explosive devices.”
He added that during the fierce battle, gunshots were heard and there was heavy sound of explosion from Rocket Propelled Grenades RPGs as well as bombs.
He said the explosions, which rent the air made many residents flee the town through the bush and some by road or vehicles to neighbouring villages and towns including Maiduguri and nearby Konduga.
A resident of Bama, Mohammed Bunu Ahmed, told journalists on telephone that “there was an attempt by the insurgents to enter Bama and capture it as they did to Gwoza few weeks back, but thank God for the good efforts of the military troops stationed near the mobile police unit who repelled the attack with the assistance of their colleagues from the 21 Brigade of the Nigerian Army who gallantly succeeded in repelling them after successful killing over 59 insurgents and injuring over 30.”
He said, “The whole episode was so scary, many of our people had to flee to Maiduguri for safety while some I learnt stayed back in Konduga with some others still taking refuge in some villages around the town.”
A resident of the town who was able to make it to Maiduguri alongside some others, told journalists at the Konduga Motor park where more than 200 persons who fled the town to Maiduguri were temporarily taken refuge, said they are waiting for the intervention of National Emergency Management Agency and the State Government, as well as other well meaning members of the society.
Narrating his ordeal, one of those who fled to Maiduguri, Alhaji Masa Bukar said, “We are here because we woke up this morning to the sound of explosion enveloping us. As early as during the Subh prayer (4.45am) we heard gunshots and RPG shots around the Technical College and Mobile Police Unit police along Banki road.
“We were advised by the military and civilian JTF to leave the town so as to allow them confront the insurgents with minimum collateral damage, this made us flee the town.”
He disclosed that many fleeing residents of the town stopped along the way in Kawuri or Goniri or Konduga, “but we decided to come straightaway to Maiduguri where the military presence is high. We were very afraid.”
Ahmed said he believes the battle was still on as he saw a convoy of military armoured tanks moving towards Bama as he was heading towards Maiduguri.
A traditional title holder in Bama who does not want his name in print, told journalists in Maiduguri that the people of Bama are excited with the new efforts of the military in the area, and relocation of the 21 Armoured Brigade Battalion to Bama, insisting that if not for the efforts of the soldiers, Bama would have been consumed and may have caved in to the Boko Haram caliphate.
He said, “Even the reinforcement being done by the GOC now is a clear indication that the military is serious and ready to rid the state of the insurgency unlike in the past.”
All efforts to get the spokesman of the 7 Division of Nigerian Army, Maiduguri Colonel Usman Sani, on telephone at the time of filing in this report yielded no result as his line was switched off.
But some residents of Maiduguri, along Bama road, claimed that a convoy of over 25 military vehicles and armoured tanks were seen moving speedily towards Bama town from Maiduguri between 10.30am and 11.30am.
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