Feb. 22, 2014
Written by Yahaya Ibrahim, Maiduguri
The Shehu of Bama, Alhaji Kyari Ibn Ibrahim El-Kanemi, yesterday gave a graphic detail of how insurgents believed to be members of the Boko Haram sect invaded the ancient town early Wednesday, saying the people of his emirate had lost confidence in the federal government.
This came as the death tolls from the attack rose to 98 yesterday according to a leader of the vigilante group. Taking journalists round the places destroyed, the traditional leader said: “To be frank, the morale and confidence of the people from the president up to the local government chairman up to the traditional ruler is nil. This government is not protecting anything, I have no reservation in telling this. It is a constitutional responsibility which they should be alive to and the irony of it is that the type of things happening in the northern part of the country if it were in the southern or any other part the government of Nigeria cannot survive”.
He said the soldiers are incapacitated, which is the reason why they have not been able to flush out the insurgents.
“From the interaction I had with the soldiers themselves they said they have limitations and are incapacitated. The authorities should not be taking one sided information from those staying in Abuja… intelligence report which is very fake. They should reach out to us on the ground, anything happening now I can get a call and say this is what happened”, he said.
Narrating how the insurgents invaded the town, the Shehu said: ‘’One of my aides called me that somebody from Goni Konori called him and told him that he saw many vehicles and motorcycles passing their village towards Bama, immediately I called one captain at the college side and he confirmed to me that two civilian JTF called him also. I called the army barracks to inform the officer in charge, not more than 30 minutes after we spoke I tried to reach out to the commander but I could not reach him, so also the GOC, I could not get them on phone”
“After 30 minutes somebody in the town also called me saying there was a fire at the state low cost, then suddenly we heard gunshots, grenade and rockets. People were running, they told me that the palace was surrounded by women and children struggling to enter. When the insurgents came, they told the women and children to leave thereafter they tried opening the door and used rockets to force it open”
According to him, the assailants tried to burn the main building but they could not and succeeded in setting some buildings ablaze.
“From 4.30am up to 12pm they took over the town and gunshots rented the air until around 12 midday before a helicopter came and we are hearing that they tried to shoot it”.
He said he participated in the burial of 34 people at the central mosque but added the number of those dead is more than that, adding that some people had already buried their relatives.
“We told the people to bring all the dead bodies to the palace but before the message reached the other side of the town they had already buried their people but in the central mosque we buried 34 bodies”.
According to him, there were confusion about his whereabouts until he appeared for the burial of some of the victims. Our reporter observed that the town market and motor park were completely razed down by the insurgents. According to the chairman of the motor park, Moroye Modu a total of 116 commercial vehicles were burnt.
At the Bama general hospital the chief nursing officer, Emit Mohammed Shuwa said that 200 people were brought to the hospital on the day of the incident.
According to him, 48 of them with gunshots injuries were admitted while 7 of them with serious cases were referred to the University of Maiduguri Teaching Hospital and 9 to the state general hospital. 17 of them died while on admission. The Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs who led state government delegation to the troubled town said that governor Shettima had approved N100 million for the reconstruction of the burnt property.