VIDEO: ‘They Told Us Not To Run,’ Survivors Recount Boko Haram Attack On Damasak

Residents of Damasak in the northern part of Borno State have narrated their ordeal in the latest Boko Haram attack on the town that left at least 12 people dead and several injured.

The incident which occurred on Tuesday was the sixth in two weeks in the chain of insurgent attacks on Damasak – the headquarters of Mobbar Local Government Area of the state.

“What we saw with our eyes on that day … they (the insurgents) came around 4pm until daybreak, and we heard them giving instructions on the houses to be burnt,” one of the survivors Mustapha Maina told Channels Television.

He added, “The gunshots in the town were so much that we did not know where to hide. We buried up to 12 people. There are a lot of our people by the riverbank at the Niger border – it is just a five-minute drive from here.

“They (the insurgents) were speaking Hausa, Shuwa, Kanuri and Fulani languages. They told us not to run, that they won’t touch us. Those who died were killed by stray bullets; they were not direct targets.”

 

In this file photo, a signpost is displayed at the secretariat of Mobbar Local Government Area in Damasak, a town in Borno State.

 

Damasak used to be a producer and exporter of vegetables to target markets within Nigeria and neighbouring countries before Boko Haram took control of it in 2014 as one of their caliphates.

Although it has since been liberated by the military from the hold of the terrorist group, the insurgents appear not to have given up on the town.

A United Nations helicopter was shot in Damasak last year, barely managing to fly to safety.

Recently, the UN humanitarian hub, private residential houses, a police station, the palace of the district head, a primary healthcare centre, and a GSM Village were among properties destroyed when the insurgents invaded the town.

This forced thousands of residents to flee Damasak to seek refuge in border communities in the Niger Republic, although some of them are said to be returning home.


VIDEO: Army Calls Overrun Of Damasak ‘Blatant Misinformation’


 

Two Days In The Bush

Another survivor, Fatima Ibrahim, told Channels Television that as the insurgents got to the village, they went straight to their targets.

She lamented that the assailants got hold of her son-in-law whom they ordered to take them around, and his whereabouts have been unknown since then.

“My daughter’s husband has been abducted; he is a civilian JTF member. They made him show them some selected houses belonging to their targets which they burnt one by one.

“Then they still took him away and till this day (Friday), we haven’t heard from him,” a tearful Fatima sobbed.

A photo taken on April 15, 2021, shows some residents and cattle in Damasak, a town in Borno State.

 

Before the attack, about 200,000 civilians were living in Damasak and half of the figure was reported to have fled to the communities in the Niger Republic for safety.

Hamsa Muhammadu, who was among those who fled their homes, explained that they had to leave because the gunshots became unbearable at some point.

“We spent two days in the bush. We left with our children to Gamari, then to the Niger Republic. Some of us could not find a place to stay, so they are just sitting by the roadside as I speak.”

 

A Night In Damasak

On Thursday, Borno State Governor Babagana Zulum visited Damasak in company with the lawmaker representing Borno North, Senator Abubakar Kyari, who hails from the town, as well as some government officials.

Governor Zulum who spent the night in the town had interactions with the survivors, as well as soldiers and others security forces involved in the counter-insurgency operations there.

While assessing the level of destruction caused by the insurgents, he sympathised with the residents and assured them of robust measures to avert future insurgent attacks on Damasak.

The governor also held an operational meeting with soldiers and other security forces after which he presented 12 security vehicles, including an Armoured Personnel Carrier (APC) and 11 patrol vehicles.

Borno State Governor, Babagana Zulum, visits Damasak town on April 15, 2021.

Zulum Spends Night In Damasak, Says Boko Haram Killed 18 Residents

Borno State Governor, Babagana Zulum, visits Damasak town on April 15, 2021.

 

Borno State Governor, Babagana Zulum, says 18 residents were killed and 21 others injured when Boko Haram insurgents attacked Damasak town.

He confirmed the figures from residents who witnessed the attack and saw several properties destroyed when he visited the town, the governor’s media aide, Isa Gusau, said in a statement on Friday.

The governor who was in Damasak on Thursday and spent the night had interactions with soldiers and others security forces involved in the counter-insurgency operations in the town.

He also sympathised with the residents and assessed the level of destruction caused by the insurgents, noting that Tuesday’s attack on Damasak was the sixth in two weeks.

A photo taken on April 15, 2021, shows a deserted community after Boko Haram insurgents attacked Damasak, a town in Borno State.

 

According to the statement, thousands of residents who had fled to border communities in the Niger Republic returned on Friday while residents to the governor that the insurgents attacked the town with three gun trucks.

The UN humanitarian hub, private residential houses, a police station, the palace of the district head, a primary healthcare centre, and a GSM Village were among property destroyed.

Governor Zulum assured the residents of robust measures to avert future insurgent attacks on Damasak, saying he has directed the strengthening of agricultural activities in the town.

A photo taken on April 15, 2021, shows some residents and cattle in Damasak, a town in Borno State.

 

As part of the measures, he held an operational meeting with soldiers and other security forces after which he presented 12 security vehicles, including an Armoured Personnel Carrier (APC) and 11 patrol vehicles.

The governor travelled to Damasak along with the lawmaker representing Borno North, Senator Abubakar Kyari, who hails from the town, as well as some government officials.

Damasak, the headquarter of Mobbar Local Government Area in northern Borno, is located on the fringes of Lake Chad and shares a border with communities in the Niger Republic.

The town used to be a producer and exporter of vegetables to target markets within Nigeria and neighbouring countries before Boko Haram occupied it in 2014 as one of their caliphates.

In this photo taken on April 15, 2021, a bus burnt by insurgents is seen in Damasak, a town in Borno State.

10 Confirmed Killed In Boko Haram’s Latest Attack On Damasak

 

Ten civilians have been confirmed killed in Tuesday night’s attack on Damasak, the headquarters of the Mobbar Local Government of Borno State.

This is according to the Chairman of the local government, Mustapha Bako Kolo.

An unspecified number of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) were also injured during the attack, according to Kolo.

Although sources say fighters of the Islamic State West Africa Province met stiff resistance from the Nigerian Army who were supported by the Airforce, the encounter left many civilians injured.

According to sources, the terror group stormed the area in over a dozen gun trucks and could be seen heading towards the Army base in Damasak, as residents were forced to flee for safety.

Last night’s attack on Damasak is the second within the week.

The insurgents had shared a video of their weekend attack on Damasak town during which they burnt UN buildings and food storehouses.

As of the time of filing this report, an official statement from the military was yet to be released.

READ ALSO: Damasak Attack: Civilians, Aid Workers Should Not Be Targets For Terrorists – UN

Nigeria’s military has struggled to end a jihadist insurgency in the northeast for more than a decade, with two million people displaced from the homes by fighting.

The latest attack prompted residents to flee towards the border.

“The locals are currently relocating to Niger Republic due to state of insecurity in the town,” said the military officer, who asked not to be identified.

Many residents had fled the town towards the regional capital Maiduguri or into the town of Diffa across the Niger border following three previous attacks, but other residents decided to stay back.

On Wednesday, residents who remained left the town across the border when militants in several trucks fitted with machine guns engaged troops in a fight outside the military base in an attempt to overrun it.

“This is the situation we found ourselves again, as you can see now we are going to take refuge in another country that is not even our own,” a resident said in a video clip sent to AFP by sources.

In the recording, hundreds of residents are seen on foot and on donkeys moving along a winding bush path with personal effects.

Jihadist warning

The fleeing residents wanted to seek refuge in nearby Gamari village across the border but were told that the jihadists had warned the villagers not to host anyone from Damasak.

“The insurgents went to Gamari last night (Tuesday) and gathered the people and warned them not to accept any humanitarian aid from NGOs and not to accommodate anyone from Damasak,” said another Damasak resident.

“The only option left to us is to go to Diffa where most of our kinsmen fled to in the past two days,” the resident said.

Meanwhile, fighting between the jihadists and troops was continuing around the base, said the resident and the military officer.

The insurgents had attacked the town on Saturday and Tuesday, causing the destruction of humanitarian facilities and at least four deaths, including a soldier.

Late on Tuesday, the jihadists stormed Damasak, burning a divisional police station after a failed attempt to raid the base, residents and military sources said.

Damasak has repeatedly been targeted by ISWAP militants who have made several failed attempts to overrun a military outpost outside the town.

ISWAP, which split from the jihadist group Boko Haram in 2016, has become a dominant threat in Nigeria, attacking soldiers and bases while killing and kidnapping passengers at fake checkpoints.

Nigeria’s 12-year-old jihadist conflict has killed 36,000 people and forced around two million more to flee their homes to escape fighting.

Damasak Attack: Civilians, Aid Workers Should Not Be Targets For Terrorists – UN

A google map of Damasak, the headquarters of Mobbar Local Government Area of Borno State.

 

The United Nations has condemned the attack on humanitarian facilities in Damasak, a town in Borno State.

In a statement on Sunday, UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator in Nigeria, Edward Kallon, raised concern over the recurrent reports of violent attacks by non-state armed groups putting the lives of civilians at risk.

He stated that civilians and aid workers, as well as their facilities and assets, should never be a target for terrorist attacks.

The Nigerian Army had confirmed the attack which occurred on Saturday, although it said ground troops, supported by the Air Component of Operation Lafiya Dole (OPLD), thwarted it.

READ ALSO: Two Soldiers, Several Boko Haram Fighters Killed In Borno Town – Army

It said the troops engaged the terrorists with superior firepower – both from the air and on the ground – which compelled them to withdraw in disarray with several men and equipment casualties in the process.

Sadly, two soldiers died during the encounter while two others and an officer injured were taken to a military hospital in Maiduguri, the Borno State capital.

In his reaction, Kallon stated that the attack, which he said lasted through the morning of the following day, targeted three international aid facilities.

He called for the safety and security of the people and aid workers, saying humanitarian operations and facilities were the lifelines for victims of violence and conflict in the North East.

A file photo of UN Humanitarian Coordinator in Nigeria, Edward Kallon.

 

The UN official said humanitarian operations in Damasak would be reduced as a result of the attack, adding that it would affect the support to 8,800 Internally Displaced People (IDPs) and 76,000 people in the host community receiving humanitarian assistance and protection.

Read the full statement by Mr Kallon below:

STATEMENT ON THE ATTACK AGAINST AID FACILITIES IN DAMASAK

I am deeply concerned about recurrent reports of violent attacks by non-state armed groups putting the lives of civilians under risks. Last night and through the morning, a violent attack in Damasak town, in Borno State, was reported with three international aid partners’ facilities directly targeted, set ablaze, and sustained damage. I continue to be concerned about the safety and security of civilians and humanitarian workers.

I strongly condemn the attack, as humanitarian aid operations and facilities are the lifelines for people affected by violence and conflict in north-east Nigeria who are dependent on assistance to survive.

Humanitarian operations in Damasak will be reduced due to the violent attack, which will affect the support to 8,800 internally displaced people and 76,000 people in the host community receiving humanitarian assistance and protection there.

Civilians and aid workers, their facilities, and assets should never be a target. They must always be protected and respected.

I call on armed parties to observe and commit to international humanitarian law and human rights law and ensure the protection of civilians, humanitarian property, and personnel.

I also appeal to our generous donors and stakeholders for support in funding the nine humanitarian hubs and to the United Nations Humanitarian Air Service (UNHAS), as these are vital enablers of the humanitarian operations in north-east Nigeria.

I also appeal to donors to urgently continue their support for the Humanitarian Response Plan for north-east Nigeria in order to provide life-saving and life-sustaining support to some 6.4 million displaced people and host communities affected by the humanitarian crisis there.

Two Soldiers, Several Boko Haram Fighters Killed In Borno Town – Army

A google map of Damasak, the headquarters of Mobbar Local Government Area of Borno State.

 

The Nigerian Army has confirmed the attack by Boko Haram fighters on Damasak town in Borno State.

Ground troops, supported by the Air Component of Operation Lafiya Dole (OPLD), however, thwarted the attack by the insurgents, army spokesman Mohammed Yerima said in a statement on Sunday.

Damasak came under attack on Saturday by the insurgents who were said to be on a mission to loot foodstuff from humanitarian facilities in the town in Mobbar Local Government Area of the state.

During the incident said to have lasted for hours, the insurgents were reported to have targeted international aid facilities, setting them ablaze.

But Yerima, a brigadier general, said the troops engaged the terrorists with superior firepower – both from the air and on the ground.

This, according to him, compelled the insurgents to withdraw in disarray with several men and equipment casualties in the process.

“Sadly, two gallant soldiers have paid the supreme price while one officer and two soldiers were injured.

“The injured are currently recuperating at a military hospital in Maiduguri,” said the Director Army Public Relations.

He noted that elsewhere, troops of Sector 1 on picketing duty along road Ngwom-Mafa to Maiduguri killed seven Boko Haram members on Sunday.

Yerima said the insurgents were supposedly lying in wait to attack the troops and other innocent citizens plying the busy road.

He explained that the troops, who have continued to dominate their areas with massive clearance patrols and ambushes, sprang the surprise attack on the terrorists that have been threatening the peace and livelihood of the people in the area.

“In the encounter, seven terrorists were neutralised while four AK-47 rifles were recovered along with several other items.

“The terrorists laid the ambush with the intent to harm NA troops and other innocent commuters. They, however, ran out of luck as they were instead trapped and neutralised in their own web,” the army spokesman said.

He added, “After the duel and successful neutralisation of the terrorists, the troops continued their clearance patrol up to Maiduguri.”

According to Yerima, the soldiers will continue to maintain an aggressive posture to ensure the entire area is cleared of terrorists and their activities while maintaining high morale and fighting efficiency.

NAF Helicopter Gunship Destroys Terrorist Gun Trucks In Damasak, Borno State

 

The Air Task Force (ATF) of Operation LAFIYA DOLE has destroyed some Islamic State of West Africa Province (ISWAP) gun trucks in air strikes conducted near Damasak in Northern Borno State.

According to a statement by the Nigeria Air Force, NAF, the attacks were executed yesterday, 5 January 2019, whilst providing close air support for ground troops at Damasak who were in pursuit of the terrorists who had attempted to breach their location.

The NAF Mi-35M Helicopter Gunship engaged the group of terrorists’ gun trucks in successive waves of attacks as they retreated, destroying and immobilizing 3 of them while causing significant damage to others and neutralizing several terrorists.

 

Similarly, a building used as a meeting venue for Islamic State of West Africa Province, ISWAP, has been destroyed by the Air Task Force (ATF) of Operation LAFIYA DOLE.

The building being used by ISWAP fighters near Baga in Borno State was destroyed on Tuesday, January 1, 2019.

According to a spokesman for the Nigerian Air Force, Air Commodore Ibikunle Daramola, the attack was carried out after “series of Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) missions confirmed that the building was being used as an assembly point by the terrorists”.

Air Commodore Ibikunle said in a statement on Wednesday that the ATF “consequently dispatched a Nigerian Air Force (NAF) Alpha Jet aircraft to attack the building”.

He said a direct hit was recorded on the target leading to significant damage to the structure and neutralization of the occupants.

Nigerien Troops Withdraw From Damasak In Nigeria’s Borno State

Nigerian Troops withdraw from Damasak after clearing Boko HaramSoldiers from Niger Republic have withdrawn from Damasak, a boundary town in northern Borno State, one of the states lately terrorised by Boko Haram.

The withdrawal of soldiers followed recent recapture of the town, considered one of the last strongholds of the outlawed terrorist group by troops of the Multi-National Joint Task Force (MNJTF).

Troops of the Sector 4 of the MNJTF, with headquarters in Diffa of Niger Republic had successfully cleared and occupied Dutse Village last month.

Theatre Commander of the Operation Lafiya Dole, Major General Lucky Irabor, visited the recovered town enroute Mobbar to congratulate and address troops of the 145 battalion for their exploits.

Irabor said the retreating Niger Troops would continue operation on their own side of the border.

“Where is left is only Abadam and Malanfatori.

“We are going there already the troops in Kangarwa are warming up. If not for the rain they would have been in Malanfatori.

“Very soon this operation would be over. All you need to do is keep the instructions we are giving to you,” Major General Irabor told the troops.

Troops of Operation Lafiya Dole first captured Kareto, another stronghold and thereafter linked up with troops of the MNJTF that captured Damasak which has now been occupied by the Operation Lafiya Dole Troops.

Nigeria Denies Boko Haram Seized 500 Children

NigeriaThe Federal Government of Nigeria has denied that the Islamist group, Boko Haram, abducted 500 children from the town of Damasak in Borno State, north-east of the country.

The Federal Government Spokesperson, Mike Omeri, said that the figure was lower although he could not be precise.

Omeri said the militant group freed some women and children when they fled the town, except for those “they had married in the period of occupation”.

“The Boko Haram were using them as “protection” and the government had ordered “full military intervention” to secure their release,” he said.

Damasak is the head town of the Mobbar Local Government Area in Borno State, located near the merging of the Yobe River and Komadugu Gana River, adjoining the border with Niger.

The regional forces recaptured the town earlier in March.

Two Chadian Army Helicopters Bomb Boko Haram Positions

Boko_Haram_Gombe_AttackTwo Chadian army helicopters bombed Boko Haram positions on Sunday, killing several dozen militants near a village on the border with Niger, a senior Niger military official told Reuters.

Niger and Chadian soldiers have been fighting the Islamist militants in a joint mission with Nigeria and Cameroon since March 2, in a bid to end Boko Haram’s six-year insurgency in north-east Nigeria.

The helicopters destroyed several vehicles and motorcycles carrying fighters in the village of Djaboullam, which lies east across the border from the Niger town of Diffa, the Niger officer said.

“Niger and Chad had received intelligence that a group of Boko Haram fighters had gathered in the border village,” the officer said.

The Niger military officer, who requested anonymity, said Boko Haram fighters had moved to Djaboullam after they were chased from other towns by the Nigerian army.

Militants were also gathering in other border towns from where they routinely launch mortar rounds into Niger, he said.

“We know they are massing in Malam Fatori, waiting for us to come,” he said, referring to another north-east town about three kilometers (2 miles) from Bosso, the nearest town across the border in Niger.

The regional offensive launched this year came as Nigeria, Africa’s most populous country and biggest economy, prepares to hold elections on March 28.

The offensive has succeeded in driving the militants from several towns and districts they previously held. Chad and Niger forces captured the town of Damasak from the militants last week.

Boko Haram: Bodies Found In Mass Grave At Damasak

boko haramA mass grave containing at least 70 bodies has been found in a town recently recaptured from Boko Haram, Niger and Chad soldier report.

The soldiers said the bodies were found in Damasak in Mobbar Local Government Area of Borno State in north-eastern Nigeria, a town they entered on Saturday.

Nigeria’s troops had renewed their onslaught against the Boko Haram terrorist after the nation’ general elections were shifted by six weeks to March 28 and April 11.

In an interview with the BBC, Nigeria’s President, Goodluck Jonathan, predicted that all territories would be taken back from the Boko Haram within a month.

“They are getting weaker and weaker by the day,” he said.

The victims, many with their throats slits and some decapitated, may have been killed some time ago, reports suggest.

Chadian army Colonel, Azem Bermandoa Agouna, said he had visited the grave and seen “about 100 bodies spread under a bridge just outside the town”.

Together with the Nigerian Army, forces from Chad, Niger and Cameroon are involved in an offensive against the Islamic militants who are controlling parts of north-eastern Nigeria.

In the renewed offensive, two out of three states, where the Boko Haram terrorists have been trying to establish an Islamic State, have been reclaimed from the Boko Haram terrorists.

Nigeria is preparing to hold presidential elections on 28 March and the Armed Forces, including the Multi Natonal Joint Task Force (MJTF) have reclaimed many towns that have been captured by the terrorist group.

Boko Haram Sect Attacks Ngambu Town Of Borno

Boko_Haram_Gombe_AttackThe Boko Haram militants attacked the town of Ngamdu in Borno State early on Tuesday, killing about a dozen people.

Ngamdu town which has been hit several times by the Boko Haram sect, lies on the border of Borno and Yobe States north-east Nigeria.

The town is about 100 km (60 miles) east of Borno State capital, Maiduguri and about 40 km west from Yobe State capital Damaturu, and lies near a road that is a major transport artery between the two States.

The casualties and wounded were mainly bus and truck drivers. Around six drivers died, a security source said.

A commercial driver, Mamman Abdullahi, said the insurgents came to Ngamdu at about 9:30 A.M. but were pursued by soldiers.

“They came back later on horse, shooting at people. Many were killed and some of our drivers were injured,” he said.

“Three drivers and some passengers were hit by bullets and being treated in a Maiduguri hospital.”

According to Reuters, five people were being treated for serious injuries after the attack at Maiduguri’s Umaru Shehu Hospital but more were being treated for wounds in other locations.

Vehicles on the road to Yobe were told to turn back due to the raid.

This is the second time in a week that the group have hit towns along the road.

Two suicide bombers blew themselves up at a checkpoint at Beneshiek on Saturday.

The country had recaptured several key towns in the last few weeks and Boko Haram has been largely pushed out of Adamawa and Yobe states with help from Chad and Niger.

On Monday, Chadian and Nigerian troops freed the towns of Malam Fatouri and Damasak from militant control.

Scores Feared Killed In Borno Attack

Borno AttackScores of people are feared killed by militant groups believed to be members of Boko Haram after they launched an attack on Damasak, a town on the border with Niger Republic.

Eyewitnesses told our correspondent that gunmen in a convoy of Toyota Hilux vehicles and motorcycles, on Monday morning, attacked the town located in Mobar Local Government Area of Borno State, with Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) and petrol bombs, killing scores of the residents.

The gunmen were said to have also torched and looted several houses and shops, before soldiers rushed to the area at about 11.45AM.

Many of the residents were reported killed as they fled into a river and nearby towns.

It was also gathered that the gunmen were dressed in military uniform, giving the impression that they were there to protect Damasak, only to launch an attack on the town.

Damasak is about 187 kilometres north of Maiduguri, the state capital.

The Borno attack comes after the killing of over 40 fishermen and traders at the weekend by the militants at Doron Baga, 155 kilometres east of Damasak, the council headquarters of Mobbar.