Shops, Property Destroyed As Fire Guts Market In Maiduguri

 

Several shops and properties have been destroyed following a fire outbreak at a market in Maiduguri, the Borno State capital.

The incident occurred on Thursday night, at the market popularly known as Jagwol and as a hub for GSM traders and artisans.

Although the cause of the fire is yet to be ascertained, witnesses say that it started from one of the shops and spread to other clustered shops around.

See photos below.

Fire Razes GSM Market In Maiduguri

Numerous properties and shops were destroyed following a fire at the GSM market in Maiduguri, Borno State capital.

The market which is popularly known as Jagwol is located at the Post Office area of the Maiduguri metropolis. It is a hub for GSM traders and artisans and the biggest computer village in the city.

The incident occurred on Thursday night, hours after the traders had closed for the day’s business.

READ ALSO: FG Vows To Address Ethno-Religious, Communal Clashes

Although the cause of the fire is yet to be ascertained, witnesses and sympathizers explained that it started from one of the shops and spread to other clustered shops around.

The fire was eventually put out by men of the Federal Fire service, but many properties were already destroyed.

Temitope David, an undergraduate of the University of Maiduguri who is also an artisan in the market said. “It was a big fire, we were very lucky it didn’t get to our shop but almost half of the market has been affected. Luckily there was no looting as the market was under lock and the security didn’t allow the crowd come close.”

Other traders however were not as lucky, as most of the affected shops were completely razed down.

The Borno State Government has constituted a committee to investigate and access the extent of the damage caused by the fire.

The state Governor, Babagana Umara Zulum who is away on an official trip  in Saudi Arabia, directed his chief of staff, Dr Babagana Wakil to assemble commissioners whose ministries relate to commerce, home affairs, poverty alleviation and jobs creation “to immediately assess impacts of Thursday night’s fire incident at the GSM market in Maiduguri and report to him today. “

This is contained in a statement issued by his Senior Media aid, Mr Isa Gusau.

According to the statement, “Zulum shares the pains of those whose means of livelihoods and assets were torched.”

There Are No Secret Graveyards In The Northeast Theatre – DHQ

 


The Defence Headquarters (DHQ) has condemned a publication by the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) which reports that the army has been burying scores of soldiers in secret unmarked graves, in a bid to cover up the casualty figures in the ongoing war against insurgency within the North East. 

Reacting to the WSJ publication, the DHQ denied the reports stating that there are no secret graveyards in the North East Theatre.

In a communique by the Director Defence Information, Colonel Onyema Nwachukwu, the military states that “this insinuation can only emanate from an uninformed position of the author of the said publication.”

It insisted that “the Armed Forces of Nigeria has a rich and solemn tradition for the internment” of its fallen heroes.

The statement further reads, “It must be unambiguously clarified that the Armed Forces of Nigeria does not indulge in secret burials, as it is sacrilegious and a profanity to extant ethos and traditions of the Nigerian military.”

READ ALSO: Nigeria Army Buries Soldiers At Night In Secret Cemetery – Report

Colonel Nwachukwu also stated that in tandem with the traditions of the Armed Forces, fallen heroes are duly honoured and paid the last respect in befitting military funeral of international standard, featuring funeral parade, gravesite oration, solemn prayers for the repose of departed souls by Islamic and Christian clerics, as well as gun salutes, aside other military funeral rites.

According to the DHQ spokesman, “The cemetery described in the publication, which is situated in Maimalari military cantonment is an officially designated military cemetery for the Armed Forces of Nigeria in the North East theatre, with a cenotaph erected in honour of our fallen heroes.

“The official cemetery has played host to several national and international dignitaries, where wreaths were laid in honour of the fallen heroes.

“It is, therefore, a far cry from the sacrilegious impression being painted by Wall Street Journal.”

The DHQ urged members of the Armed Forces and the general public to disregard “such a misinformed publication and see it as a figment of the imagination of the writer, whose knowledge of military valued ethos and traditions is grossly misplaced”.

10 Years Into Jihadist Rebellion, No Reprieve For Nigeria’s Displaced

 

Maiduguri resident Ahmed Muhammed wanders through the rubble left behind as he recalls the outbreak of fighting in his city a decade ago that launched the Boko Haram insurgency in Nigeria.

“We heard shooting — badadadadadada — here, there, everywhere around us,” the 44-year-old railway worker told AFP.

“We thought the end of the universe had come.”

In late July 2009, tensions between the hardline Islamist sect and authorities in northeast Nigeria boiled over as the group launched a wave of attacks and security forces fought back ruthlessly.

The epicentre of the violence was the compound of the group’s founder Muhammad Yusuf.

After several days of fighting, Yusuf and hundreds of Boko Haram members were dead and a conflict had been unleashed that would devastate the region.

The mosque and the homes that once stood there are now just a pile of debris — an unmarked monument to the suffering of the past 10 years.

In the decade since the uprising began, some two million people have been uprooted from their homes and 27,000 killed as the bloodshed has spilt into neighbouring countries.

Boko Haram has turned vast swathes of territory into a no man’s land and forced its way into international headlines by abducting hundreds of schoolgirls.

While the Nigerian army has pushed the fighters from major towns, the jihadists have splintered into factions and spawned an offshoot aligned to the Islamic State group that has unleashed its own campaign of violence.

‘No option’

Waves of the conflict crashed over Hadiza Bukar’s village near Baga close to the shores of Lake Chad in 2015 when Boko Haram fighters stormed through the area.

Bukar fled with her newborn twin sons, leaving behind her husband and two other children.

She has not heard from them since.

What remains of the family is now among the roughly quarter-of-a-million people displaced and struggling to survive in and around Maiduguri, capital of Borno State.

Studded across the city are government-approved camps and informal settlements of corrugated iron, sticks and shreds of tarpaulin.

READ ALSO: 65 Killed In Boko Haram Funeral Attack

The only place Bukar found to live is at the ground zero of the insurgency that tore her life apart. Her makeshift home stands on the edge of the ruins of Yusuf’s former compound.

When the downpours come in the rainy season the place turns into a quagmire.

“Many people told us stories about what happened here. They warned us there was a history,” she said, of the bloodshed in 2009. “But we had no option. We have nowhere to go. We decided to stay.”

Across town in another district Idrissa Isah, 45, scrapes by as best he can.

Isah used to send cows to Nigeria’s economic hub Lagos, but now all he has is a small patch of earth near his shack that a local landowner lets him till.

The little he grows helps supplement sporadic handouts from international aid groups and feed his family. He says he has had no government support.

Isah is desperate to return to his village of Makulbe about 30 kilometres (20 miles) from Maiduguri, but the risk is too high.

“If I could go back I would — I would have a big, big farm,” he said.

“There is no way I can.”

Attempted return

Finding a way home for the displaced is seen as key to solving the humanitarian crisis in northeast Nigeria.

After forcing the jihadists back to remote hideouts, the government insists the security situation is stabilising.

But attacks persist outside heavily fortified towns.

Over just a few days in July, five soldiers were killed and six aid workers kidnapped.

On Thursday, a Boko Haram raid killed at least two people in a displaced camp near Maiduguri.

So far this year, 130,000 people have been displaced in northeast Nigeria, the International Organization for Migration says.

Ibrahim Bukar, 48, is comparatively lucky.

The local government accountant still receives his official salary of about $80 (75 euros) a month even though he has not worked in his hometown Bama, 65 km from Maiduguri, since it was devastated by fighting more than four years ago.

But the wage does not cover rent and he squats with his wife and four children in the one-room servants’ quarters of an acquaintance’s house.

Last October, after more than four years away, he decided to go home.

“There was nothing,” he said.

“No food, no potable water, no health services, no teachers — don’t even talk of electricity.”

Beyond the town, he said, you cannot travel safely for more than a kilometre. After three months, Bukar gave up and headed back to Maiduguri.

Camps still filling

The displaced camps are still filling up.

A sprawling site around the city’s main stadium opened in March and has already reached its capacity with over 12,000 people.

Fatima Mohammed, 38, moved into a tarpaulin shelter three weeks ago with her husband and two children.

She arrived from an overcrowded camp not far away, having been displaced several times since being forced from her village five years ago.

She has no idea if, or when, she will see home again.

“All depends on god — if there is peace I will go back immediately,” she said.

“But if there is no peace then there is no way I can return.”

AFP

Many Injured As Terrorists Attack Mosque In Borno

Air Force Officer Dismissed For Raping 14-Year-Old IDP

 

Several persons sustained injuries on Saturday when insurgents attacked a mosque in Sajeri village, at the outskirts of Maiduguri, the Borno State capital.

According to eyewitnesses, the insurgents suspected to be Boko Haram members were said to have opened fire on the congregation who were observing their prayers.

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On hearing the news, the Governor, Babagana Umara visited the community to condole with the victims.

Details later…

894 Child Soldiers Released From Civilian JTF In Maiduguri – UNICEF

Over 3,500 Children Recruited By Insurgents, Says UN

 

The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), has said that 894 children have been released from the ranks of the Civilian Joint Task Force (CJTF) in Maiduguri.

The children, including 106 girls were released on Friday as part of commitments to end and prevent the recruitment and use of children in the fight against insurgents.

According to a statement from UNICEF, the release would be followed up with reintegration programmes to help them return to civilian life.

“Any commitment for children that is matched with action is a step in the right direction for the protection of children’s rights and must be recognised and encouraged,” said Mohamed Fall, Representative of UNICEF in Nigeria and the Co-chair of United Nations Country Task Force on Monitoring and Reporting on Grave Child Rights Violations (CTFMR).

“Children of north-east Nigeria have borne the brunt of this conflict. They have been used by armed groups in combatant and non-combatant roles and witnessed death, killing and violence. This participation in the conflict has had serious implications for their physical and emotional well-being.”

READ ALSO: Women Protest In Abuja Over Sexual Assaults By Police Personnel

The organisation further stated that since September 2017, when the CJTF signed an action plan committing to putting measures in place to end and prevent recruitment and use of children, 1,727 children and young people have been released. Since then, there has been no new recruitment of children by the CJTF.

It also noted that the children and young people released today will benefit from reintegration programmes to help them return to civilian life, seize new opportunities for their own development, and contribute to bringing lasting peace in Nigeria, as productive citizens of their country.

According to the UNICEF, without this support, many of the children released from armed groups struggle to fit into civilian life, as most are not educated and have no vocational skills.

More than 3,500 children are said to have been recruited and used by non-state armed groups in the conflicts in northern Nigeria between 2013 and 2017.

According to UNICEF, others have been abducted, maimed, raped and killed.

“We cannot give up the fight for the children, as long as children are still affected by the fighting. We will continue until there is no child left in the ranks of all armed groups in Nigeria,” Fall said.

The organization says it would continue to work closely with state authorities and partners to support the implementation of reintegration programmes for all children released from armed groups, as well as others affected by the ongoing conflict.

The gender and age-appropriate community-based reintegration support interventions include an initial assessment of their well-being, psychosocial support, education, vocational training, informal apprenticeships, and opportunities to improve livelihoods.

At least 9,800 people formerly associated with armed groups, as well as vulnerable children in communities, have accessed such services between 2017 and 2018.

Buhari Arrives Maiduguri To Inaugurate Developmental Projects

File Photo of President Muhammadu Buhari

 

President Muhammadu Buhari has arrived Maiduguri the Borno state Capital for an official visit. 

The President is expected to commission some developmental projects, especially in the sectors of education, health care and roads.

Buhari’s visit comes after the President had on Wednesday inaugurated the newly digitalised Ayinke House which is also known as the Institute of Maternal and Child Health in the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH).

READ ALSO: Buhari To Commission Projects In Borno, Proceed To UK On Private Visit

Ayinke House is Nigeria’s biggest Maternity Hospital which was upgraded from an 80-bed facility to a 170-bed healthcare centre with state-of-the-art medical equipment, as well as information technology services.

The President also commissioned the 500-seater Lagos Theatre in Oregun, Ikeja.

The ultra-modern theatre is one of the four simultaneously constructed by the Ambode administration to increase arts spaces and create standard platforms for talented citizens of the State to showcase their skills.

Why We Relocated Jakana Residents To Maiduguri – Army

Why We Relocated Jakana Residents To Maiduguri – Army

 

The Nigerian Army has explained why the residents of Jakana, a town on the Maiduguri-Damaturu Expressway in Borno State, were evacuated from their homes.

The Deputy Director of Army Public Relations of the Operation Lafiya Dole Theatre Command and 7 Division, Colonel Ado Isa, disclosed that the decision was to avoid collateral damage in the course of operations.

He said there was an intense patrol ongoing at the fringes of the Lake Chad basin, code-named “Yanchin Tafki”, for which troops were providing blocking force in all areas of operations identified as possible routes for fleeing insurgents, including Jakana, Mainok, and other villages.

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In an interview with Channels Television on Tuesday, Colonel Isa explained, “There is credible information that in that general area.

“We have to conduct clearance operations because we don’t want to disclose to them (the residents) so they will not panic and it is part of the military drill that whenever we want to conduct such operations after having a credible information on the activities of the Boko Haram Terrorists elements, we normally evacuate and relocate all the people within that community for the safety of their lives and property, so that we can get the latitude to go on with our military operations. So that’s what we did yesterday.”

Hundreds of villagers had arrived at the Bakassi Internally Displaced People (IDP) camp in Maiduguri, the Borno State capital.

The villagers have been profiled by the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) at the camp which is located some 40 kilometres away from Jakana,.

Colonel Isa, however, distanced the army from allegations that the villagers were evacuated for being complicit by accommodating insurgents who were believed to have several routes and crossing points around Jakana.

He insisted that the troops had nothing to do with innocent villagers who had nothing to do with the insurgents.

“We are not after them; they did not commit any offence,” the Theatre Command spokesman said.

He added, “It is for their safety. The NEMA and the BOSEMA were all there, they profiled them, they registered them, and they are taking care of them and we equally announced to them that for those that have relations and loved ones within Maiduguri metropolis are free to go and stay with them.

“Nobody is denying them of their ancestral home. However, let them allow us to conduct our clearance operations because we don’t want to incur any collateral damage. So that is the main import of the evacuation since yesterday (Monday) and today. We were also at the IDP camp and we addressed all of them.”

Meanwhile, residents of neighbouring Damaturu, the Yoba State capital have reported an intense gun battle around the Red Bricks Estate in Maisandari, an estate situated at the entrance of the city.

Although it is not clear if the military is engaging armed assailants, residents have taken refuge in their homes as the shootout continues.

Damaturu is about 90 kilometres away from Jakana, where the military is conducting intensive clearance operations.

There are also reports of another attack in Gaidam Local Government Area of Yobe State on Monday, forcing residents to flee to nearby communities.

Information about both attacks is still sketchy at the time of this report.

13-Year-Old Suspected Suicide Bomber Arrested In Maiduguri

Suicide Bomber Reportedly Kills Six In Borno
File photo

 

A thirteen-year-old girl has been arrested near Giwa Barracks in Maiduguri, Borno State, with an Improvised Explosive Device strapped to her body.

Although she was said to have collapsed around Assembly Quarters near the barracks, upon interrogation, she managed to identify herself as Zara.

According to her, four of them had been brought into the area from Banki, in Bama Local Government Area for the suicide mission.

The four others were reportedly taken away in a car to another part of the city for their own mission.

Thereafter, the panicking residents called the attention of Civilian JTF operatives and the army who arrested the famished girl and cordoned off the area.

Residents were then ordered to remain indoors until the security breach is brought under control.

Officials of the Anti-bomb Squad are currently being awaited as military operatives keep the girl in protective custody.

Five Killed, 20 Injured As Vehicle Hits Landmine In Maiduguri

 

 

Five farmers were killed on Wednesday when their vehicle hit a landmine near Maiduguri, militia and residents said.

A truck bringing farmers and their harvest of cucumbers from nearby irrigation fields exploded when it hit a mine outside the town of Addamari, some 20 kilometres from Maiduguri, they said.

The incident which left 20 people injured was blamed on the Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) militant group, which last week attacked a military base in the town.

“Five people were killed and 20 injured in the explosion,” Babakura Kolo, an anti-jihadist militia leader in Maiduguri told AFP.

“The truck was returning from the fields outside the town around 12:40 pm (1130GMT) when it hit the mine planted in the middle of the road,” he said.

READ ALSO: At Least 30 Killed By Gunmen In Zamfara: Police, Witnesses

Kolo’s account was confirmed by Musa Ari, another militiaman.

Resident Kassim Butari who gave a similar account said ISWAP fighters were most likely responsible for the explosion.

“We recovered four dead bodies and took 21 injured to hospital where one more died,” he said.

On February 28, ISWAP fighters attacked a military base in the town, leading to a two-hour battle in which two soldiers and a militiaman were killed, according to military and civilian sources.

The attack was repelled with aerial support during which several fighters were killed and many of their vehicles destroyed.

However, on March 2, ISWAP issued a statement claiming to have killed 10 soldiers and seized a military truck in the attack, according to SITE Intelligence which monitors jihadist activities.

Boko Haram militants have repeatedly targeted farmers, loggers, and herders, accusing them of passing information to the military and the pro-government militia fighting them.

Boko Haram’s decade-long uprising to establish a hardline Islamic state in remote northeast Nigeria has killed more than 27,000 people and displaced 1.8 million from their homes.

The conflict has spilled into neighbouring Niger, Chad, and Cameroon, sparking a humanitarian crisis in the region.

Eleven Killed As Suicide Bombers, Gunman Attack Worshippers In Maiduguri

NEMA Confirms Three Killed In Borno IDP Camp Fire

 

Eleven persons have died in an early morning suicide attack on Muslim worshippers in Maiduguri, Borno State.

The suicide bombers, two of them, accompanied by a gunman, infiltrated a mosque in Kushari village behind old CBN quarters Maiduguri at about 5:30am.

According to a statement issued by the Police Commissioner, Damian Chukwu, an “On-the-spot assessment at the scene revealed that at about 0540hrs gunmen suspected to be BH terrorists & suicide bombers infiltrated Gwozari/Kushari in Polo general area, Maiduguri shooting sporadically & detonated IEDs strapped to their bodies.”

READ ALSO: Boko Haram Reportedly Attacks Governor Shettima’s Convoy

The statement further says “Eleven people including three bombers died while fifteen others sustained injuries and are currently hospitalized at the State Specialist Hospital Maiduguri.”

Damian added that Clearance operations are ongoing by teams of EOD, SARS, PMF, NSCDC and the Military.

One Reportedly Killed As Boko Haram Attacks Maiduguri Communities   

 

One person has been reportedly killed and 65 houses burned after suspected Boko Haram insurgents attacked some communities on the outskirts of Maiduguri, the Borno State capital.

Hundreds of residents reportedly fled into Maiduguri following the attacks around the Bale Shuwa-Judumri axis at Jiddari Polo in Jere Local Government Area on Saturday evening.

According to eyewitness reports, the insurgents invaded the area in an attempt to enter the capital but were repelled by troops of the Nigerian Army and the Civilian Joint Task Force (CJTF).

In a statement by the Zonal coordinator for the National Emergency Management Agency North East (NEMA), Bashir Idris confirmed the attack to Channels Television.

He stated that 65 houses were burnt while 200 cows, 300 flocks of sheep and goats were carted away.

Idris, however, explained that the “injured victims have been provided with first aid and humanitarian needs assessment is being conducted to enable the mobilization of immediate relief assistance.”

Channels Television observed that there was panic around the Giwa barracks area of Maiduguri in the neighbourhood of the attack, with evidence of buildings set ablaze by the attackers.

The attack follows renewed violence by members of the sect despite several efforts by security agencies to curb the menace.

In April, the armed insurgents stormed Jiddari polo, killing a civilian JTF member while two female suicide bombers were killed as Nigerian army troops repelled the invasion.

See photos below: