Suspected members of Boko Haram at the weekend attacked a wedding convoy in Borno State and killed more than 30 people, including the groom.
A report by Associated Press (AP) quoted a spokesman of Adamawa State Government, Ahmad Sajoh, as saying that the wedding ceremony had taken place in Firgi village in neighbouring Borno State and the groom and guests were driving home to Adamawa when they were attacked on Saturday on the highway between Bama and Gwoza towns in Borno.
But in a swift reaction to the report, the Nigerian Army denied that over 30 people were killed in the attack.
A statement by the 7 Division of the Nigerian Army, based in Maiduguri, said yesterday that the death toll was five.
The army in the statement signed by the spokesman of the 7 Division, Lt.-Col. Mohammed Dole, said the five persons were killed after an attack on a bus at a village called Bulakuri in Bama headquarters of Bama Local Government Area of Borno State, adding that the corpses of the victims were in Bama.
Another statement by the Adamawa State Government, also denied a report that the people were killed in Michika Local Government Area of the state.
Sajoh, who is the Director of Press and Public Affairs to Governor Murtala Nyako, said he believed that some dark forces were at work to ensure that the emergency rule currently imposed on the state was extended.
In a related incident, Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau said in a video released yesterday that he led an October 24 attack in which 35 people found in military uniforms were killed in Damaturu, the Yobe State capital.
“Look at what happened in Damaturu,” the head of the Islamist group said in the video obtained by AFP through the same intermediary as previous clips.
“Since we killed them with our hands — in fact I was the commander of the operation — so, you cannot say I’m making conjecture,” he said.
The authenticity of the video clip — in which Shekau spoke for about 11 minutes in Arabic, Hausa and Kanuri — could not be independently confirmed.
“This is a brief message to the world. We carried out the Damaturu attacks with Allah’s help, with Allah’s might, with Allah’s glory and with victory from Allah, the Creator,” he said.
The video was titled “Battle of Damaturu” in Arabic.
Thirty-five bodies in military uniforms were brought to a morgue in Nigeria’s restive North-east after a coordinated assault by Boko Haram targeting the security forces, a hospital source had said.
The attack in Damaturu was the first significant raid in a major urban centre in several weeks by the insurgent group waging a four-year Islamist uprising.
Police and residents said large numbers of Boko Haram fighters, some in vehicles and some on foot, stormed Damaturu after dark.
Armed with guns and explosives, they attacked and torched four police buildings, sparking a fierce, hours-long gun battle with the security forces.
Contacted by AFP on October 28, the state’s military spokesman Lazarus Eli did not deny reports that dozens of soldiers were killed during the clash.