The Head of the military counter-insurgency operation in the North-East (Theatre Commander of Operation Lafiya Dole), Maj. Gen. Olusegun Adeniyi, blamed the victims, saying the Maiduguri/Damaturu Road would now close by 4pm in order to protect lives and property.
Suspected Boko Haram on Sunday killed no fewer than 30 people, and abducted women and children majorly late travellers in a Borno village.
Villagers said the victims arrived at the military checkpoint leading into Maiduguri after the 5pm closure of the gate and had no choice but to sleep in Auno, the neighbouring village on the Maiduguri-Damaturu Highway.
Though the residents of Auno had told the governor that 30 corpses were counted at the scene of the attack, Adeniyi told journalists at a press conference that 10 persons were killed.
The Army General said it had become dangerous to ‘ply and park vehicles’ along Maiduguri/Damaturu Road between 4pm and night.
He said, “We don’t want to see vehicles on this road between evening and night hours.”
He queried why motorists and truck drivers should park over 200 vehicles at Auno.
He noted that the closure of the road was meant to prevent Boko Haram insurgents from attacking commuters and communities along the 132-kilometre highway.
He attributed Auno’s attack to the excesses of drivers and transporters, emphasizing that the daily closure of the road would now be at 4pm.
On the rescue of students, he said, “Yesterday (Sunday), Boko Haram came with 15 gun trucks along Maiduguri/Gubio Road and in two minutes, they kidnapped three students of the Government College, Maiduguri.
“The insurgents quickly fled the road but Lt. Col. I. Yusuf mobilised other soldiers and pursued the terrorists.”
He said while engaging the insurgents, troops skillfully rescued the students without harm to them.
He, however, warned school authorities against students wearing school uniforms on Sundays in the affected states of Borno, Adamawa and Yobe.
He said that uniforms make students vulnerable to terrorists and kidnappers.
Adeniyi handed over the students to their parents.
The villagers, while narrating their ordeal in the hands of the terrorist group on Sunday night to the Borno State Governor, Prof. Babagana Zulum, said many persons were abducted.
They lamented that 18 vehicles comprising trailers, buses and cars were burnt by the insurgents who laid siege to the village at about 9.50 pm on Sunday.
The villagers, who were still in shock when the governor visited them on Monday morning, said women and children were loaded into three buses and driven away.