• Seizes three buses with passengers
• Buhari pledges to rescue all abducted kids
Suspected Boko Haram insurgents in gun trucks have attacked Auno Village in Borno State, killing over 10 people and destroying 18 vehicles.
The attack on Sunday came barely three days after the Theatre Commander of Operation Lafiya Dole, Maj-Gen. Olusegun Adeniyi, claimed that the army had technically defeated the Boko Haram insurgents.
“There is no inch of the Nigerian territory that is under the control of the Boko Haram insurgents. Since 2017, the army has technically defeated the Boko Haram terrorists and we have succeeded in taking over the areas captured from Boko Haram insurgents,” Gen. Adeniyi told journalists last Friday while speaking on the anti-terrorism fight in Maiduguri.
While Adeniyi claimed that only 10 people died in the attacks, other sources claimed that the toll figure was up to 30.
During the Sunday attack carried out at about 9:37p.m., the terrorists also snatched three buses loaded with passengers, including women and children, while the vehicles and many houses torched were burning.
Auno is near Maiduguri and had suffered several attacks that claimed many lives and property in the decade- long insurgency.
Confirming the incident, Yahaya Audu, a driver that escaped being killed, said when the terrorists stormed Auno, they were shouting “God is great, God is great.
“The gunmen killed commuters and villagers while some of us scampered for safety, running into nearby bushes and houses. About three hours after, about 18 vehicles were confirmed destroyed by a member of Civilian JTF in Auno.”
The Garrison Commander, Brig-Gen. Sunday Igbinomwanhia, also confirmed the incident, saying the insurgents burst out from the Sambisa forest to attack the village and military post.
Gen. Adeniyi said that the Maiduguri/Damaturu road remained closed by 4:00 p.m. to protect lives and property in the ongoing counter-insurgency operations.
He directed the closure yesterday in Maiduguri while briefing journalists on the Boko Haram attacks in Auno village.
According to him, it is dangerous to ply and park vehicles along Maiduguri/Damaturu road as from 4:00 p.m. and at night. “We don’t want to see vehicles on this road between evening and night hours.”
The Theatre Commander, who said that the closure of the road was also to prevent Boko Haram insurgents from attacking commuters and communities along the 132-kilometre highway, attributed the Auno’s attack to the alleged excesses of drivers who did not abide by the daily closures of the road by 4:00 p.m.
While sympathising with the victims, Governor Babagana Zulum urged the
army to relocate its post from Auno to a further distance to secure lives.
The governor cautioned the affected residents against taking the law into their hands by protesting against the incident and the army.
The incident occurred as President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, reassured Nigerians and the international community of the commitment of his government to securing the freedom of all children and other victims of abduction by terrorists in the country.
‘’Let me categorically reassure you of the steadfast commitment of the government of Nigeria to ensure the freedom of all kidnapped children from the shackles of Boko Haram.
‘’We will not relent until every child, boy, or girl, every Nigerian adult in custody of Boko Haram is freed!’’
The president renewed the pledge at a high-level breakfast dialogue on ‘’Stop the War on Children Affected by Armed Conflicts: Dividend of Silencing the Guns’’, a side event during the 33rd AU summit.
The programme was co-sponsored by Nigeria, Uganda and Norway, the AU Commission and Save the Children.
Speaking at the event, President Buhari said: ‘’A number of school girls from Chibok and Dapchi earlier abducted by Boko Haram have regained their freedom. We commend the gallant efforts of the Multi-National Joint Task Force and the partners in supporting the reintegration of the girls.”
Buhari urged African countries and stakeholders on the continent to work fervently towards strengthening the protection of children from the six grave violations during armed conflict.
The violations are killing and maiming of children, recruitment or use of children as soldiers, sexual violence against children, abduction of children, attacks against schools or hospitals and denial of humanitarian access for children.
President Buhari expressed concern that these grave violations against children have continued unabated.
‘’It is for this reason that the Nigerian government has severally condemned, and is combating frontally the dreadful activities of terrorist groups like Boko Haram and the so-called Islamic State.”
Meanwhile, the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) under Operation Rattle Snake III has killed several Boko Haram terrorists’ commanders at Alafa Yagayaga on the fringes of the Sambisa Forest in Borno State.
A statement by the NAF Director of Public Relations and Information, Air Commodore Ibikunle Daramola, said the feat was achieved on February 8 when fighter jets dispatched by the Air Task Force (ATF) of Operation Lafiya Dole obliterated a compound in the settlement where the leaders had assembled for a meeting.
According to him, the air strike was executed on the heels of credible intelligence reports indicating that the Boko Haram leaders had converged on the target compound for a meeting at the weekend.
The statement reads in part: “Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) missions, which confirmed the meeting venue, also observed several Boko Haram terrorists in and around other buildings in the vicinity of the compound.
“Bombs from the detailed attack aircraft scored accurate hits on the target leading to the obliteration of the compound and surrounding structures as well as the neutralization of their Boko Haram terrorist occupants.”
Daramola assured Nigerians that the NAF, operating in concert with surface forces, would sustain its air campaign to shape the battle space in the northeast for the effective conduct of further ground and air operations.
The Bishop of Anglican Diocese of Ohaji/Egbema, Rt. Rev. Chidi Collins Oparaojiaku, urged the Federal Government to prove to the world that Nigeria is not a terrorist nation by tackling insecurity in all corners of the land.
Oparaojiaku gave the charge at the weekend at the 61st birthday ceremony of the Bishop of Egbu Diocese, Rt. Rev. Geoffrey Enyinnaya Okorafor at the Cathedral Church of All Saints, Egbu, Owerri North Local Government Area, Imo State.
Expressing gladness over the visa ban placed on Nigeria by the United States, the cleric argued that any nation that aspires to enjoy good relationship with others must have good policies in place.
He said the ban would stop criminals in Nigeria from escaping to the United States to find succour.
According to him, virtually all the agencies of the government have failed Nigerians, and the judicial arm has moved from being the last hope of the common man.
‘’Some people must die for Nigeria to move forward. I don’t know them. God knows them. Anyone who needs to die for Nigeria to move forward must die unless they repent,” the cleric said.
He urged the Christian faithful to keep their trust in the Lord and not to deviate.