The Borno State Governor, Babagana Zulum, has expressed his displeasure to the Nigerian Army over an attack on his convoy by suspected Boko Haram gunmen in Baga, a town in Kukawa local government of the state on Wednesday.
PREMIUM TIMES reported that Mr Zulum survived an ambush by gunmen while on a trip to Monguno and Baga towns to distribute food to IDPs.
Addressing the Army’s commanding officer in Mile 4, Mr Zulum wondered why the Army has not been able to secure Baga despite the number of troops deployed for over a year.
“You have been here for over one year now, there are 1,181 soldiers here; if you cannot take over Baga which is less than 5km from your base, then we should forget about Baga. I will inform the Chief of Army Staff to redeploy the men to other places that they can be useful,” Mr Zulum was quoted by Channels TV as saying.
“You people said there’s no Boko Haram here, then who attacked us?”
Also reacting to the incident, the Northern Governors Forum, through its chairman, Governor Simon Lalong of Plateau State, described the attack as “callous and reprehensible.”
Mr Lalong’s statement was signed by his spokesperson, Makut Macham.
The forum said the attack was to frustrate Borno governor’s efforts toward reducing the sufferings of IDPs who had been traumatised by terrorists.
“This regrettable attack shows the desperation by enemies of peace and humanity at large to jeopardise all efforts towards making life easier for victims of violence in the state over the years,” it read.
The spokesperson of Army, Sagir Musa, in a statement on Thursday said, “Although, details of the unfortunate incident are sketchy and under investigation…efforts are ongoing to comb the area where the incident occurred with a view to track down and deal decisively with the attackers.”
It added that “An investigation is also in progress to identify the circumstances that led to the attack,” he said. Musa however, said that the attack was an isolated and most unfortunate incident wing to the fact that normalcy had since been restored to Baga with socioeconomic activities picking up.
“Nigerian Army wishes to inform the general public that it will continue to discharge its responsibilities professionally with respect for the fundamental human rights of all Nigerians and in compliance with the extant rules of engagement.
“The good people of Baga town and indeed the entire Borno State are enjoined to continue to provide credible information that will assist the security agencies to successfully combat terrorism as well as apprehend and flush out the perpetrators of the attack.”