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Gunmen burn churches, border post, kill 10 •Murder emirate council member •Nigeria still safe - Presidency

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NO fewer than 10 persons, including a pastor were said to have been killed in Chibok Local Government Area of Borno State, when gunmen suspected to be members of the Islamic sect, Boko Haram attacked a village and churches in the local government.

In a similar attack in Ngala Local Government Area of Borno State, gunmen numbering 50, according sources in Ngala, attacked churches, the police, as well as Immigration posts, leaving several dead and injured.

According to sources who spoke to Nigerian Tribune by phone, the gunmen attacked churches and sacked a whole village community in Chibok Local Government Area.

It was also gathered that the attack in Ngala was targeted at Christians living and doing business in the border town, who were said to have been warned earlier in a letter to leave the area or risk being attacked.

Joel Bukar who spoke to Nigerian Tribune by phone said, “10 Christians were killed in Kupwal village on Saturday in Chibok Local Government Area.”

A former council chairman, Mr. Nuhu Clark also confirmed to newsmen that, “the suspected Boko Haram attackers came at about 9.00 p.m. and set people’s houses on fire before killing their victims using guns and matchetes. Most of the victims were buried today (Sunday). It is unfortunate thast such could happen in such a peaceful village.”

On the attack in Ngala, Nigerian Tribune gathered that, the Customs, Immigration and SSS offices at the border town, as well as police post were razed.

Commissioner of Police in Borno State, Yuguda Abdullahi, however, said that the police were able to repel the attackers when they went attacking the police post.

The commissioner also refuted comments on happenings at the other posts, when asked to speak on the Chibok Local Government Area killings.

However, DSP Gideon Barde told newsmen that, “we are still compiling our report but we are aware of all happenings.”

Another witness however claimed that three churches and two policemen have been killed in an attack in Gamboru.

Umar Abubakar, a trader in Gamboru also told Nigerian Tribune that “three churches were burnt down while two policemen have been killed in Gamboru Ngala.”

In another development, JTF said it has conducted operations and arrested some key commanders of the Boko Haram in Bulabulin area of Maiduguri on 29 November, where the JTF lost a an officer with one other injured.  “The Joint Task Force with members of the Department of State Security and the Nigeria Police Force Dog Section, in a combined operation this morning, launched a special raid operation along Damboa – Biu road to capture one of the major terrorist commanders, Abdulkareem Ibrahim, top on its wanted list,” the JTF said.

JTF added that during the operations and in the ensuing fire fight, Abdulkareem Ibrahim and two of his sub-commanders were killed and an AK47 rifle with other arms and ammunition were recovered. Abdulkareem was a notorious terrorist commander responsible for the recent spate of killings and bomb attacks in Maiduguri. He is one of the top “Amirs” (Commanders) recently declared in the bounty list released by the JTF to members of the public.

The release which was made available to newsmen on Sunday further stated that, the JTF will continue to appreciate all information that will lead to more arrest of the sect’s commanders declared in the bounty as well as other information that will help in its conduct of operations to eliminate terrorist activities in the state.

Also, the headquarters of Katagum Local Government Area of Bauchi State experienced more killings at the weekend as a member of Katagum Emirate Council, Alhaji Ibrahim Abbas Shehu, who was the Majidadin Katagum, was killed by unknown gunmen.

The Nigerian Tribune was informed on Sunday that the late Majidadin Katagum was killed in front of his house after coming out of the mosque where he had observed the Isha’i prayer.

According to the deceased’s brother, Babayo Shehu, the late Majidadin Katagum was sitting in front of his house after the night prayer when the assassins shot him three times, leading to pandemonium in the area.

“When he came out of the mosque, he sat in front of his residence when three men appeared on foot and shot him three times. This caused pandemonium in the area as people run helter skelter for safety,” the brother stated.

Confirming the incident, the Bauchi State Police Commissioner, Mallam Mohammed Ladan, stated that, “it is true they have killed the traditional title holder,” adding, however, that the police had commenced investigation into the incident.

In recent times, no fewer than nine people have been killed by unknown gunmen in Azare. The list include a former Comptroller-General of Prisons, Alhaji Ibrahim Jarma; a prison warder attached to the ex-Comptroller-General; two policemen attached to the house of a former Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Alhaji Aminu Saleh; two soldiers, an Igbo businessman, his apprentice and another woman, among other killings in the ancient town.

In another development, soldiers killed four suspected robbers who invaded a business premises in Azare and carted away large sum of money.

The money the robbers took from the premises, the Nigerian Tribune gathered, was, however, recovered from them by some residents of the town who pursued them after cordoning off all possible escape routes in the town, with a view to preventing them from escaping with their loot.

It was learnt that one of the youths who chased and caught one of the robbers was shot on the leg by a member of the robbery gang before soldiers, said to be numbering about 17, arrived to foil the robbery operation, killing all the four robbery suspects in the process.

The injured youth was said to have been admitted in a hospital in the town.

The Bauchi State Police  Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Hassan Mohammed Auyo, when contacted by journalists over the phone on the incident, said he did not have an official statement on the robbery, but heard about it when newsmen called him for confirmation.

Nigeria still safe —Presidency

AGAINST the backdrop of recent attacks on the military church in Jaji and the Special Anti Robbery Squad (SARS), Headquarters in Abuja and in response to media reports that  nowhere is safe in the Nigeria, the presidency has assured Nigerians that in spite of the situation, the country is still largely safe and secure.

The words of assurance by the presidency were contained in a statement signed by the Special Adviser to the President on Public Affairs, Dr Doyin Okupe and made available to the Nigerian Tribune.

“It is not surprising therefore that as a consequence of the recent activities of the insurgents, some dailies reported that nowhere is safe in Nigeria. In truth and in reality, this statement is not correct. President Goodluck Jonathan wishes to assure Nigerians that in spite of this situation, the country is still largely safe and secure.

“The president also wishes to state categorically his unwavering commitment and determination to fight insecurity wherever they are found. Government efforts and preparedness will be further enhanced to ensure the security of life and property of all Nigerians, irrespective of their locations within the country,” the statement read.

It stated further that the government had, in a bid to gather intelligence, acquired and deployed highly sophisticated security equipment, adding that members of the security agencies had received and continued to receive adequate training such that the country’s intelligence gathering capacity has witnessed a monumental increase to gather information.

“This is why over 70 per cent of the activities of the Boko Haram and other sinister plans are aborted before they occur. But unfortunately, these are not made known to members of the public,” the statement added.

The presidency assured further that the government would not rest, but continue to work tirelessly with all the security agencies in the country to bring to a complete end, as soon as possible, cases of insecurity while those found guilty to have perpetrated criminality and acts of terrorism either by promoting it actively or passively engaging in it would be made to face the full wrath of the law.

“However, it is in times like this that we need the fire of patriotism naturally within us as Nigerians, as individual citizens, organisations including the media, to bring us together as a nation and rally the government in its efforts to root out the criminal elements within our society,” the presidency said, adding that Nigerians should not allow fear and despair to overcome them, but rather draw strength from their well-known spirit of nationalism and forebearance to support the government and the security agencies in their efforts to curb the menace.

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