Tuesday, 21 February 2012

BOKO HARAM: Soldiers kill 8 members in Maiduguri shoot-out

In a seeming reprisal against the arrest of a member by civilians last Thursday, gunmen suspected to be Boko Haram members went to the fish market along Baga Road in Maiduguri, Borno State, yesterday and attacked three civilians with explosive devices.

People in the vicinity scampered for safety as a result of the deafening explosions.

The action attracted the presence of the Joint Task Force (JTF) soldiers who killed eight members of the Islamist sect.

The group probably went to the market to avenge the arrest of a member by civilians last Thursday.

An eyewitness who did not want his name in print, said: “I actually went there to buy a bag of onions when the thing happened. There were three bomb blasts. The first happened around the fish market and everybody scampered for safety. But another two came again. It was as if I was trapped, but I managed to get out some minutes later. I was, however, scared when I saw corpses.”

Confirming the attack, JTF spokesman, Lt.- Col. Hassan Mohammed, said: ``This afternoon, gunmen suspected to be Boko Haram sect members attacked three civilians at the Baga Road Fish Market.
``The JTF men came on rescue operation, engaged the suspects in a shoot-out and succeeded in killing eight of them,’’ Mohammed said.

``The JTF detonated three IEDs and defused several others recovered from the attackers. We also recovered large number of arms and ammunition from them.
``The JTF has cordoned off the entire area and a search operation is going on to uncover hidden weapons and IEDs.’’

He maintained that none of the JTF personnel was injured even as he said that the market has been condoned off. He also said a “come down and search operation” by the JTF was going on within the area. Sources at the University of Maiduguri Teaching Hospital (UMTH), however, disclosed that two bodies were brought to the hospital in a van escorted by a military patrol vehicle, adding that one of the victims was not dead, but was “badly injured”

 Sources said the dreaded Islamic fundamentalists attacked the market to avenge the arrest of one of their members last Thursday. A lone gunman was said to have strolled into the market located on the outskirt of the metropolis last week and had attempted to pull the trigger of his AK 47 rifle before some traders reportedly overpowered him.
 According to JTF, some people at the Baga Market had made gallantry efforts when they assisted the JTF in the arrest of a gunman who entered the market to kill innocent people. “They have displayed that security is a collective responsibility and that the sect members are not invisible as they now choose to operate in markets and highly concentrated areas,” the JTF said. Barely a week later, the Boko Haram men returned to the market to launch what would have been a deadlier attack.

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