Death toll in Boko Haram attack on Zulu’s convoy hits 30

THE death toll in Friday’s attack by terror sect, Boko Haram, on the convoy of Governor Babagana Zulum of Borno State was on Saturday put at 30.

Sources in Maiduguri said the casualties from the attack on Zulum on a highway had doubled, following the recovery of more bodies.

The victims included policemen and members of the Civilian Joint Task Force.

The police and the governor, however, said 11 people died in the attack.

The police gave the breakdown as eight policemen and three members of the Civilian Joint Task Force.

A sad Zulum consoled the bereaved families and described the victims as priceless heroes.

President Muhammadu Buhari sympathised with the governor and charged security agencies to intensify efforts in the Northeast to rid security in the area of sabotage.

Chief spokesman to Governor Zulum, Isa Gusau, said in a statement yesterday that his principal was “saddened by this unfortunate carnage.”

He added: “He shares the grief of families of these 11 priceless heroes to whom Borno shall remain grateful.

“The governor prays for the repose of their souls and urges all stakeholders to remain committed to ongoing peace building efforts.

“Zulum is of the opinion that we must continue to keep hope alive even in the face of tribulations, and believe that with sustained efforts and prayers, Borno will eventually regain peace.

“The situation facing us is a tough one but we must choose between doing something which gives us some hope and doing nothing which will leave us more vulnerable to Boko Haram’s ultimate wish to take over Borno and bring it under their sovereign brutal administration.”

The governor’s convoy had earlier in July been attacked by the sect members in Kukawa Local Government Area of the state, but no one was killed in that attack.

The State Police Command, in a statement by its spokesman, Edet Okon, said: “Eight policemen and three members of the Civilian Joint Task Force paid the supreme price.

“Thirteen other persons sustained various degrees of injuries and were rushed to the hospital for treatment.”

Okon reiterated the commitment of the Police to the protection of the lives and property of the residents of the state.

He said the Force “will not relent in providing the needed security for the good citizens of Borno State at all times.”

The governor’s convoy came under attack as it approached Baga to join Zulum who had been flown into town in an Airforce chopper to Baga to receive returning Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs).

The attack came a few days after the death of a major actor in the war against Boko Haram in the state, Colonel Dahiru Bako.

Bako and three other soldiers died from gunshot injuries they received when he was ambushed by the terrorists.

They were laid to rest in Maiduguri on Saturday.

Buhari charges security, intelligence agencies on sabotage, sympathises with Zulum

President Muhmmadu Buhari yesterday charged security and intelligence agencies to intensify efforts in the Northeast to rid security in the area of sabotage.

The President, who sympathised with Governor Zulum and the families of the security operatives killed in the attack, ordered security agencies to sanitise roads and venues ahead of the return of internally displaced persons (IDPs).

In a statement issued by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu, on Saturday, the President commended Prof. Zulum for his resolute stance against the terrorists and charged him to remain unbroken in the fight to sanitise the state.

He also commended the courage and gallantry of the security operatives who stood to repel the ambush on the governor’s convoy, asking both the state government and security agencies to continue in the collaboration to free the state and the affected areas of the Northeast of terrorism.

“President Muhammadu Buhari condemns the ambush on entourage of Governor Umar Babagana Zulum of Borno State, which led to the death of security men and some operatives of Civilian-JTF.

“The President described the attack, on Maiduguri-Baga route, as an orchestrated sabotage against long planned return of displaced persons to their local communities.

“President Buhari notes, with deep sympathy, the loss of lives of security men on the convoy, ahead of the return of Internally Displaced Persons, IDPs, commiserating with their families and loved ones.

“The President advises the government of Borno State, working with security and intelligence agencies, to remain firm in their determination to restore normalcy to all communities liberated from Boko Haram terrorists.

“President Buhari urges security and intelligence agencies to intensify efforts to check sabotage, sanitize the roads, venues and locations well in advance of returning IDPs, while working closely with local communities.

“The President commends the gallantry of service personnel who repelled the deadly ambush, as well the sincere determination of Governor Zulum, who has been working with armed forces to end the menace of terrorists, rebuild homes and return IDPs to regular life.

“He prayed that God will grant the souls of the departed security men and operatives of Civilian-JTF eternal rest and comfort their families,” the statement said.

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