VIOLENCE continued unabated in Borno State as gunmen suspected to be members of the Boko Haram sect operating in Toyota Hilux vehicles and motorcycles, Friday afternoon attacked Mainok market, killing scores of traders and marketers before fleeing into the Sambisa Forest.
Mainok is a farming community and 56 kilometres west of Maiduguri, the state capital.
According to military and police sources in Maiduguri, the insurgents raided the market to chart away food items and market sales to sustain their activities in the state.
“The gunmen carted away foodstuffs and money belonging to the traders after killing many traders and marketers in the afternoon of Friday (yesterday),” said the military source Friday.
A Maiduguri resident, Bitrus Yohanna who travelled along the Maiduguri-Damaturu road yesterday, told The Guardian that the attackers stormed the market at about 1.30pm.
“I boarded a luxury bus from Lagos and as soon as we arrived Mainok at exactly 1.30pm, we heard heavy gunshot from the western part of the market and sporadic gunshots followed. Hundreds of traders and residents fled the market in confusion, running to cross the highway to the other side while motorists passing through the town attempted to flee. It was a lot of confusion,” said
He disclosed that many fleeing residents were hit on the road by equally fleeing motorists in the midst of confusion that ensued, adding that “many people may have died in the attack.”
He added: “Many people may have been killed judging from the way the insurgents
were shooting at the crowd. Vehicles were
were colliding with one another and the Boko Haram kept shooting”.
Security personnel who also travelled on the road yesterday disclosed that the attackers first fired Rapid Propelled Grenade (RPG) into the
middle of the market before they started firing into the market. One of them said: “The death toll may be high because there were many people in the market.”
Meanwhile, the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) Friday tasked the Borno State Resettlement and Distribution Committees (BORDC) on the “prompt release and distribution” of over 52 truckloads of relief
materials to 58, 000 displaced persons in various established camps in Maiduguri metropolis.
Director General of NEMA, Alhaji Mohammed Sani Sidi spoke Friday at the flag-off of distribution of relief materials to displaced persons in the state at the National Youths Service Corps (NYSC) orientation camp, Maiduguri.
He said the responsibility of the state’s resettlement committee members was to “equitable and efficiently” distribute all the food items, including non food items of building materials, mattresses, mats and other basic needs of over 58, 000 Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in the five or six camps.
His words: “As the Federal Government has complemented its efforts of delivering relief materials with the flagging off of their distribution to various camps. I charge the resettlement and distribution committees, headed by Usman Jidda Shuwa, to ensure that each and every person affected by the Boko Haram insurgency, is adequately resettled with basic needs of life and safety, before they return to their respective towns and communities.”
He however noted that before the displaced persons get access to relief materials, they should be registered by the various committees for documentation, accountability and transparency.
Responding, Jidda said: “This is the third time the NEMA boss is in Maiduguri for these displaced persons in the camps. We therefore appreciate Federal Government’s intervention with these relief materials for distribution. On our part, the state government has approved N100 million with the release of N35 million for the upkeep of these affected insurgency victims numbering over 4, 000 in the NYSC camp here.”