A release from Zakariya Musa, Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria
Attackers believed to be Boko Haram insurgents attacked three villages--Shuwari, Kirchinga, and Shuwa--in Madagali Local Government area in Adamawa State, Nigeria, on Feb. 4. The villages are in the northernmost part of the state, north of Mubi.
Amos Udzai, district secretary for the Gulak District of Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria (EYN, the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria), who visited two of the affected communities, said one person was killed in Shuwari while another person lost his life in Kirchinga.
Four vehicles, including that of the attackers, were burnt in the villages. The attackers reportedly carted away 10 cars and motorcycles, burned several shops, and looted a dispensary. The villagers said military personnel arrived the scene after the attackers had fled with a police van.
“I went there myself and saw the damages,” Rev. Udzai said. He added that even on Tuesday there was tension as residents were living in fear because, according to them, the military had not enough weapons to confront the attackers.
Pastor Iliya Filibus of Shuwari confirmed that some people have returned home but many are still taking refuge in other surrounding communities.
A village head in Madagali who did not want his name in print said on Tuesday that the insurgents came to the community at about 6 p.m. on Monday. “But we mistook them for soldiers because they wore military camouflage and came in army vehicles,” he said.
A community head in Karchinga, Lawan Abubakar, said the terrorists destroyed about 40 shops in his village and killed 2 people in the market square. “On Monday, I saw three vehicles of the army and four anti-aircraft guns. We thought the occupants of the vehicles were personnel of the Nigerian Army on patrol. They passed through our village and our people, even our hunters, were relaxed because we mistook them for soldiers.
“It was later we learnt they went to Shuwa, destroyed shops for about two hours, and they came back to Karchinga, my village, where they destroyed about 40 shops. All our food items and shops were looted and burnt. They killed two persons here [in Karchinga], one at the market square and one on the street.
“The people thought they were soldiers of the Nigerian Army. The usual way the terrorists come, shoot sporadically into the air and then invade the community. But on Monday evening, they came in without suspicion and they started looting and burning houses.”
Another eyewitness said, “The Boko Haram terrorists are believed to be members of the Abubakar Shekau faction of the sect. They killed one person in Shuwa and two in Karchinga. They attacked us at about 6:30 p.m. and fired rocket-propelled grenades. They forced the policemen to flee, stealing vehicles, a police van, looted shops and houses.”
The Nigerian Army on Tuesday confirmed the attacks on the communities saying troops of the 143 Battalion engaged the insurgents, adding that troops were in pursuit of the fleeing insurgents.
Col. Onyema Nwachukwu, spokesperson for the military’s Operation Lafiya Dole, confirmed that the terrorists killed three people but said that they only burned a shop, a health care center, and a market. “The troops recovered one hand grenade and six rounds of anti-aircraft ammunition. Sadly, before the troops arrived at the scene of the crime, the insurgents had killed three persons, looted and torched a shop, a health care center, and a local market.”
-- Zakariya Musa is communications staff for Ekklesiyar Yan'uwa a Nigeria (EYN, the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria).