Boko Haram’s ambitious move to capture Bama, Borno State’s second largest city, has turned a misadventure. The sect lost more than 40 fighters. Many were injured. The insurgents are in control of Gwoza.
The Defence Headqurters said the attack was being repelled.
Yesterday’s was the fifth attempt by Boko Haram to take over Bama where most leaders of the sect have their base.
The insurgents had always targeted Mohammed Kur Barracks and the police station in the town.
According to a military source, the insurgents invaded Bama early yesterday.
The source said: “In their typical guerilla manner, about 200 to 300 insurgents invaded Bama with armoured vehicles and motorcycles.
“They were attacking all persons and objects on sight as part of their bid to annex the town which they lost to the troops last December.
“But our troops rose to the occasion and launched counter-attacks which led to heavy casualty figures on the part of the insurgents.
“The invasion was part of their larger plans to take over all towns in Borno State as part of the declaration of an Islamic Caliphate.
“To them, Bama is strategic because most of their deadly commanders hail from the town. For troops to be in control of the area meant that they have lost a coordinating base.
“We know that they would always want to go and come in Bama. So, our troops have always prepared for them.”
The source said: “The insurgents are unhappy that they lost the strategic town since last December.
“You will recall that in December 2013, the sect lost 113 members within two weeks during encounters with our troops in Bama.”
Another source said: “They wanted to overrun Bama, which is about 64 kilometres to Maiduguri, the Borno State capital. They wanted to use Bama as a base for their final march on Maiduguri.
“But the resistance mounted by troops was not what they bargained for. Although they had been repelled, troops are pursuing the fleeing insurgents to avert their plans to regroup.
“As expected, most residents of Bama have been running away from the town to Maiduguri and other safe places.”
When contacted, the Director of Defence Information, Maj-Gen. Chris Olukolade said: “Bama attack is being repelled. We cannot state casualty situation/figures now. Everything necessary will be done to contain the terrorists.”
A report said another group of the insurgents was sighted around Mafa Local Government Area and Kayamula villages in Konduga Local Government Area, near Maiduguri metropolis. Those sighted around Kayamula were killed by troops while those around Mafa were suspected to be making frantic efforts to enter the metropolis.
This development, according to sources, was one of the reasons for the review of curfew in the metropolis.
The army reviewed the curfew hours imposed on Maiduguri metropolis and environs, which is now from 6am to 7pm. The spokesman of the 7 Division, Colonel Sank Usman, announced the new time in a statement.
A source said: “The insurgents stormed the town through Bama-Banki-Gwoza Road but were intercepted by gallant military troops near the Bama Mobile Police Unit located about five kilometres away from Bama.
A resident of Bama, Mallam Abba Usman, who fled to Maiduguri, said: “There was an attempt by the Boko Haram sect to enter Bama town or capture Bama as they did in Gwoza. But for the good efforts of the troops stationed near the mobile police unit who repelled the attack in a joint effort with their colleagues from the 21 Brigade of the Army.
A chief in Bama, who does not want his name in print, said Bama people were highly excited with the new efforts of the military and the relocation of the 21 Armoured Brigade Battalion to Bama.
“Even the reinforcement being done by the GOC now is a clear indication that the military is serious and ready to rid the state of the insurgency, unlike in the past,” he said.