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Dozens of gunmen, suspected to be members of the Boko Haram, yesterday reportedly took over Abadam, a border town between Nigeria and Niger Republic, in the northern fringes of Borno State, fleeing residents said.
Sources said the insurgents had been in Abadam since last Thursday but finally hoisted their flags yesterday after killing many prominent people and forcing others to cross over to Niger Republic.
The actual number of people killed is not yet clear as police and military authorities in Borno State are yet to comment on the latest seizure, even as some towns, including Gwoza, Bama, Mafa and Dikwa are still under the control of the Boko Haram, according to officials.
Sunday Trust reliably gathered that a traditional ruler, Ba Mallam Wasak, 75, an uncle of the immediate past Speaker of the Borno State House of Assembly, Goni Ali Modu, has been killed by the insurgents in Abadam.
Goni Modu, a ranking member, represents Abadam Constituency in the state assembly. He could not be reached yesterday at the time of filing this report.
Alhaji Salatu, another notable figure in Abadam and three of his children, as well as one Alhaji Bulakaye, were also among the many people killed, witnesses said.
Beside Mallam Fatori, Abadam is the second biggest town in Abadam local government area which has witnessed series of attacks from Boko Haram insurgents.
People in the area alleged that Nigerian troops are visible at Mallam Fatori but no single security official was at Abadam which is seven kilometers away, a development which they said gave the insurgents leverage to attack and destroy.
The Multi-National Joint Task Force (MNJTF) headquarters and barracks are also at Abadam.
Aminu Abdullahi, a resident of Abadam, who spoke to our correspondent by phone, said dozens of people had been killed.
“As I am talking to you, both my father and mother are still trapped in Abadam and only God will save them. Many people, especially the old, are still in Abadam because they could not flee,” he said.
According to him, agile men and women had crossed over to Niger Republic.
“For now, hundreds of our people have crossed over to Abadam Paransa, Gowngoro, Goan, Gamgra and Boso, all in Niger Republic. They are in need of help because they are in distress; they left home running helter-sketer and their safety across the border is not certain,” he said.
Another resident of Abadam, who does not want his name mentioned, pleaded with the federal government to come to their aid.
He said the insurgents are killing at will.
And today (yesterday) they expanded their targets as only the peasant elderly are spared.
“Dozens of villages in Abadam local government are now under the firm grip of the Boko Haram. We are really bewildered because we heard over the radio that Nigerian government had reached a truce with the insurgents but, honestly,there is nothing to that effect,” he said.
Meanwhile, Sunday Trust gathered from sources that the Boko Haram insurgents have stepped up attacks in some communities, two days after the announcement of the ceasefire deal.
A Fulani leader near Alagarno village of Damboa local government area was reportedly slaughtered by the insurgents on Friday. Local hunters also engaged the assailants near Shaffa village yesterday when the bodies of eight people who were ambushed and killed by the insurgents on Friday.