Gunmen of the Boko Haram sect have now hoisted flags in Damboa after days of sustained attacks that caused residents to flee and security officials dislodged
Over 100 people, including women and children, were killed during an early morning attack on Friday. More were later killed on the evening of the same day while bereaved locals were busy burying their dead.
An official of the Human Rights Watch who spoke off the record confirmed the hoisting of flags in Damboa, even as he said the casualty toll may be higher.
“The town has been taken over by the insurgents and the casualty may be much more than we have already,” said the HRW official. “We have it officially that the insurgents had hoisted their flags in Damboa now.”
Villagers of Dile, Huyum, Lassa, Murtavu, Rimirgo and four other villages in Askira Uba local government area are presently fleeing into Uba town en masse following a threat letter reportedly sent to them by Boko Haram terrorists.
A member of the vigilante group received an alert from a colleague from Uba asking for help.
“The people are fleeing in response to a letter purportedly sent to those villages that they would also be attacked. So, about nine major villages are now on the run”, said Gava
A top security official in Maiduguri, who would not want to be named because it was not his job to brief the press, confirmed the hoisting of flags by Boko Haram in Damboa.
“Of course, they hoisted their flags there and we have made all the relevant reports to the authorities. There, also, was an air strike around the area last night which had recorded some degree of success. I can assure you that the game is changing because the military is making a tactical mobilization that will soon bring this to an end.
“The military is acquiring the best of equipment to tackle this situation and the engagement would be handled as a full-scale war because, whether we like it or not, we are in war and we have to treat it as such. The Nigeria military is up to the task, if given all the moral and material support to fight the war,” said the security officer.
The hoisting of flags by Boko Haram in Damboa town, 85km south of Maiduguri, is the closest the insurgents have come near the capital city of Maiduguri in recent times.
However, when LEADERSHIP Sunday asked the director of defence information, General Chris Olukolade, through a text message, whether the military was aware of the hoisting of the flag, he replied “no please”. Likewise, the Borno State police public relations officer, Gideon Jubrin, when contacted said, “Honestly, we have not heard anything official about any flag being hoisted in Damboa, but as soon as we get anything, we will definitely let you know.”[Leadership]