As members of the Boko Haram were displaced from their Sambisa forest stronghold and forced back from Maiduguri by the Nigerian Army, indication emerged yesterday that they may have relocated to the southern part of the state.
This caused many motorists to shun the Biu/Maiduguri highway for fear of being waylaid by the sect on the lonely road.
It was also gathered that the members of the sect invaded Pela Birni village of Hawul Local Government Area of Borno state in the southern part of the state, killing two residents and setting ablaze two churches and many residential houses.
Pela Birni is one of the most populated and remotest villages under Kwajjafa District in southern Borno with a large Christian population. It is few kilometres from Garkida town of Adamawa state.
An eyewitnesses said the gunmen came to the village at about 10pm on Sunday with sophisticated weapons and opened fire on their targets displacing hundreds of residents who are now taking refuge around the mountainous areas of Kwajjafa district and it’s environs.
Mallam Musa Anjili Pela Birni who spoke to journalists on telephone, said he narrowly escaped being killed by the attackers, lamenting that the house he was sleeping in was among the houses set ablaze.
“The gunmen invaded our village at about 10 o’clock in the evening on Sunday, they started shouting God is Great. In some houses, they did not shoot at the residents but ordered them to vacate their houses and set them ablaze, saying we are here for God work,” he said.
Another resident, who spoke anonymously, said most of the neighbouring houses near the Church of Brethern, (EYN in Hausa) were set ablaze including the church, while two people lost their lives, as well as many sustained injuries.
He narrated that the gunmen numbering over 50, carried AK47 rifles, petrol bombs and Improvised Explosive Devices ( IEDs) and had a field day, wrecked havoc on innocent poor civilians.
The Chairman of Hawul Local Government Area, Dr. Andrew Usman Malgwi confirmed the incident to journalists. He lamented that the rate at which suspected insurgents are holding people to ransom in Borno state and other states in the north east is worrisome, and calls for serious prayers from all and sundry.
“Yes there was an attack in one of my village (Pela Birni) yesterday (Sunday evening) which led to wanton killings and destruction of property. We have communicated to relevant security agencies on the matter who have swung into action with a view to apprehend the perpetrators, we have also mobilized our people to ascertain the damage and assist the displaced Persons as an interim measure,” he said.
The Chairman who expressed shock, said he was displeased over the “incident where innocent citizens and poor villagers who live from hand to mouth will be attacked, killed and have their houses including places of worship burnt down by insurgents for not just cause”.
It can be reported that due to the fear of being attacked on the Biu/Maiduguri road, the Christian Pilgrims from Borno to Jerusalem who left Maiduguri yesterday morning for Yola to board a flight had to avoid the Biu/Maiduguri road which should have taken just about five hours for a longer route through Damaturu which took over seven hours.
The pilgrims were advised by the security agents to avoid the dangerous Biu/Maiduguri road.