Senator Khalifa Ahmed Zanna, who represents Borno Central at the National Assembly, has challenged both the Borno State government and Nigeria’s military officials to take reporters to the town of Bama in Borno State to validate their claims that Islamist insurgents belonging to Boko Haram had not captured the town.
In a telephone chat with a correspondent of SaharaReporters earlier today, Mr. Zanna insisted on his earlier statement that the Islamist insurgents had overrun the town two days ago.
“As I am speaking to you Bama has been captured and the insurgents are on the prowl for any males, killing at will,” said the senator. He added, “Everyone is a target [of the Islamist militants] as long as you are male, but for now women and children are being spared.”
Recounting how the fall of the town has personally affected him, Senator Zanna disclosed that the insurgents who seized Bama had killed two of his nephews.
“They entered my brother’s house in Bama and shot his two sons they met at the residence,” he said. Mr.
Zanna, who is an indigene of Bama, which is less than 50 miles from the Borno State capital, Maiduguri, accused both the Nigerian military and Borno State government of “lying to Nigerians.”
Yesterday, state officials had claimed that the senator’s assertions that Boko Haram fighters had seized Bama were false. Responding today, Mr. Zanna challenged state and military officials to prove that they were telling the truth by “taking journalists to the town to cross check the facts.”
Members of a Maiduguri faction of a youth vigilante group engaged in resistance to Boko Haram had insisted at a press conference arranged by the Borno State government that Mr. Zanna’s claim that Boko Haram had seized Bama was a lie and politically motivated.