The Nigerian military successfully repelled resists a Boko Haram attack on Damaturu, the Yobe State capital, an official has said. There is a serious panic in Damaturu as shrill gunshots and artillery fire rented the air.
Residents rushed into their houses and businesses shut down hurriedly on Sunday 22nd December, 2019 evening while the attack occurred.
In a statement by Njoka Irabor, the spokesman of Sector II of Operation Lafiya Dole, Damaturu, while speaking on the attack, Njoka said that the insurgents made an attempt to enter Damaturu from the northern flank of the town but were given a heavy propelled by both air and ground troops.
Mr. Njoka, the army captain, said Sunday night that Damaturu was now calm and the details of the attack will be communicated by tomorrow.
While the attack on Damaturu transpired, scores of vehicles trying to get to the town were marooned as the army blocked the roads that lead into the town.
Witnesses said that over 200 vehicles were marooned including the Borno State governor’s convoy along Damaturu-Maiduguri highway.
Some journalists who were part of the governor’s convoy, said that over 200 vehicles including commercial and private cars were held up at the entrance of Damaturu town at about 9:00p.m. on Sunday.
The Governor ‘Babagana Zulum’, however, was not in the convoy, which was said to be travelling to Gombe where it would be joined by the Borno governor for a tour of Southern Borno.
Some of the vehicles that were marooned, some were going for Xmas in Gombe, Yola, Abuja, Kaduma, Jos, Kani and others. It was learnt that intelligence (BHTs) said they will enter Damaturu from Gashau axis but the military has not made any explanation yet. People helpless and afraid of being attacked by the Boko Haram Terrorists from the bushes at worst without any security with them.
Bulama Shettima, a traveler, who was also stranded on the road, said they have been there since 3.00 p.m. on Sunday. He said, we arrived this place since 3.00 p.m. and realized that the road is closed by the military. They did not give us any explanation until we started getting information that Boko Haram Terrorists are trying to attack Damaturu.
“My question is how are we safe staying here on this road. It’s risky for us. Can the soldiers protect us sleeping on this road,” he said on Sunday night.
Another commercial driver, Abdullahi Shehu, who was travelling to Kaduna via Kano said most of his passengers, including children and their parents were travelling for Christmas.
It’s obvious that we are going to sleep here with little children. Some of my passengers are going for Christmas and look at what has happened now. I just pray that the Almighty Allah will protect us on this road.
This attack is the second by Boko Haram Terrorists on Damaturu within two months. Both attacks were from the Gashua part of the town which has now become a flashpoint for the insurgents.
The 1st attack occurred early last month a few days after the Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Abubakar, visited the state.
It was suspected that the insurgents wanted to steal the Thirty (30) Hilux vehicles that the Yobe State Governor MALA BUNI donated to the security operatives in the state.
This second attack was however more scary to residents as heavy shelling of heavy gunshots and rocket launchers.