The convoy of the Borno State Governor, Kashim Shettima, on Tuesday came under attack by the Boko Haram shortly after it got to a village called Logomani, about 20km from Dikwa town, along the Maiduguri-Gamboru-Ngala road which leads to Chad Republic, while on his way to campaign in a remote border village that was once under the control of Boko Haram with the plan to pass the night there, eyewitnesses said.
At least five persons including a soldier who stood his ground and opened fire on the Boko Haram attackers to allow people escape into the bush were reportedly killed in the attack.
How Attack Happened
According to some of the Civilian-JTF operatives who often provide the largest number of security personnel on such trips, the gunmen that attacked were on two gun trucks.
One Civilian-JTF source said they thought the gunmen who packed by the road side were soldiers providing security for the governor’s movement.
“They were all dressed as though they were soldiers and they packed their cars by the road side,” said the Civilian-JTF source who asked not to be named.
The witnesses said the Boko Haram gunmen watched until more than half of the vehicles in the lengthy convoy, including that of the governor, had passed by before they drove out and joined the convoy as well.
“We thought they were soldiers and we even waved at them and one of them on the gun trucks waved back at us,” said the source.
“The trucks they were driving bore the colour of military vehicles and they were putting on military fatigue.”
One of the Civilian-JTF operatives added that after the Boko Haram attackers joined the convoy, they continued to drive alongside other vehicles for about 5km before they suddenly increased speed ahead of the vehicles behind them.
“We noticed they increased speed and suddenly, the two vehicles spread to the sides of the road and began to open fire on oncoming vehicles.”
The source said the most affected in the attacked convoy were members of the Civilian-JTF who were coming from behind.
“There was thick dust because the road was untarred. Everyone was running for dear life, including us the Civilian-JTF.”
“About 10 vehicles including patrol trucks of the Civilian-JTF were also taken away by the ambushing gunmen.
“Two other corpses were found yesterday (Wednesday) while many of those that went missing, including a permanent secretary, later showed up after wandering in the desert.”
SOLDIERS WARNING IGNORED
Some of the Civilian-JTF members who arrived Maiduguri Wednesday evening also confessed that the soldiers in Dikwa town had warned the governor and his convoy against advancing to Gamboru-Ngala at that late hour.
“The soldiers initially said they won’t open the way for us to advance because it was 6pm and Boko Haram usually carry out attacks at that time along that axis”, according to one of them.
“But the campaign officials insisted that they should be allowed to proceed. A hot argument ensued until the governor later intervened and said the road should be opened.
“The soldiers grudgingly opened the barricade leading to Gamboru-Ngala but they did not follow us.”
The governor’s spokesman, Malam Isa Gusau, informed our reporter via a text message that he awaits some clarifications before issuing a statement.