*Police say soldier, 24 other persons lost their lives in the bombing
By Abraham Olatokunbo
The United Nations on Sunday said 34 persons were killed and 90 others injured in fresh attacks on Maiduguri by Boko Haram, United Nations said on Monday.
In a press statement, the UN Deputy Humanitarian Coordinator in Nigeria, Mr. Yassine Gaba, currently Humanitarian Coordinator ad interim, who condemned the deadly attacks which took place near Belle Village, in the outskirts of Borno State’s capital, Maiduguri, on Sunday 1 April, said according to local sources, “at least 34 civilians lost their lives in this attack and some 90 others were injured.”
He lamented that there has been steady continuous attacks on civilians in the three most conflict-affected states of Borno, Adamawa and Yobe, in the north-east of Nigeria in recent weeks.
He said: “Since the beginning of the year, reportedly, at least 120 civilian women, children and men were killed and over 210 sustained serious injuries, in over 22 attacks allegedly by non-state armed groups directly targeting civilians.
“Civilians are also regularly abducted, as in Dapchi, Yobe State, where 110 school girls were taken on 19 February.”
Gaba said: “Innocent civilians continue to suffer daily from direct and indiscriminate attacks in the north-east of Nigeria.
“Endless numbers of explosions, brutal killings, abductions and lootings continue to uproot the lives of women, children and men daily. I call on all parties to the conflict to end this violence and to respect human life and dignity.”
He said, “The protection of civilians is a major focus of the ongoing humanitarian response in the north-east of Nigeria, where 7.7 million people remain in dire need of humanitarian assistance, including food, shelter, water and health care, in the most conflict-affected states of Borno, Adamawa and Yobe.
He lamented that: “Women, children and men face daily grave human rights violations and sexual and gender-based violence. Since the start of the conflict in 2009, more than 20,000 people have been killed, thousands of girls, women, boys and men have been abducted and children continue to be used routinely as so-called “suicide” bombers.”
Meanwhile, the Borno State Police Commissioner, Damian Chukwu, who briefed journalists on the incident on Monday, said the high number of casualties was as a result of the insurgents attack a social gathering, wedding ceremony, at the outskirts of Maiduguri.
He said 18 persons were lost on the spot as five male suicide bombers lounged at a gathering of people attending a wedding ceremony.
He said the five suicide bombers were mangled beyond recognition and they were parked alongside 18 other corpses to the mortuary.
He said later on Monday two other persons died among the 86 persons injured as a result of the multiple explosion.
He said: On April 1, 2018 at about 2020 hours, Boko Haram terrorists in an attempt to infiltrate into Maiduguri through Bale Kura, Bale Shuwari, Jamine and Alikaramti villages of Jere local government area, outskirts of Maiduguri township detonated IEDS.
“They were promptly repelled by the military and police reinforcements. In the process, about 84 persons were injured while 20 persons were killed in the attack.”
He added that another five mutilated corpses of male suicide bombers were discovered, and that two undetonated suicide vests were recovered and rendered safe by Police EOD.
He said policemen have been mobilized to the scenes of the attacks to sanitize the areas and return normalcy.
He however lamented that the attack would have been truncated had the members of the areas alive to their civic responsibility of alerting security operatives of any security threat.
He said the many of the society should be alive to security in their area. “They should be able to apprehend anybody they feel is security threat, they can also alert the security agents on any strange faces or anything you think might threatened the security of your area.”
In a another development, the insurgents came on Monday prepared to gain entry into the town, where the movement was formed over a decade ago.
It was gathered that apart from the suicide bombers deployed on the town, a moving armed force were also unleashed on the troubled town.
The residents of the town were taken aback as heavy gunshots were heard early on Sunday night.
The military in a statement by the spokesman of the counter-insurgency operation in the North East, Col. Onyema Nwachukwu said: “Troops of Operation Lafiya Dole deployed in the Cashew Plantation around Bille Shuwa and Alikaranti villages have quashed an attempt by Boko Haram terrorists to penetrate Maiduguri metropolis yesterday at about 8.10 pm.
“The insurgents met with stiff resistance of troops who killed six of the insurgents and neutralized seven suicide bombers in the encounter.
“The troops also recovered two AK-47 rifles and two Magazines. The Nigerian Police Explosive Ordinance Disposal team have detonated two IED vests recovered from the killed suicide bombers beaten by the troops and unable to force their way into the metropolis, the insurgents retreated and callously resorted to attacking locals who, reacting to the encounter were fleeing in confusion from Bille Shuwa and Alkaranti villages with Person Borne Improvised Explosive Device.
He said: “Sadly, 15 persons including a soldier have so far been confirmed dead in the encounter, while about 83 persons who suffered varying degrees of injuries are receiving due medical attention.”
He added that: “Troops are still on the trail of the insurgents.”
In a similar development, Nwachukwu said: “A 14 year old Boko Haram insurgent Rawa Babagana has surrendered to troops of Operation Lafiya Dole.”
He said Babagana escaped from the Boko Haram enclave in Kekeno in the northern fringes of the Lake Chad Islands, and was been profiled.
He said: “It is clear that the remnants of the Boko Haram Terrorists are hell bent on remaining relevant by attacking soft and vulnerable targets and therefore calls for collective vigilance by all security stakeholders and members of the public.
“Members of the general public are therefore urged to be watchful and discern strange persons and suspicious activities in their communities and report to the security agencies.”