Boko Haram: Ghadaffi’s mercenaries fingered in Konduga attack
•Troops liberate some abducted women
Konduga, the besieged Borno State town attacked by Boko Haram, was gradually regaining it peace at the weekend. Military authorities, who have been probing the attack in which no fewer than 39 people died, have fingered some mercenaries of ex-Libyan leader Muammar Ghadaffi as part of those who invaded the town, killing residents and burning homes.
There are fears that Ghadaffi’s mercenaries have been working with Boko Haram.
A comprehensive probe of the attack on is underway at the Defence Headquarters.
It was however confirmed yesterday that troops have regained and secured Konduga to enable the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) take relief materials to the residents, who have been indoors for about five days.
Hundreds of residents trooped out yesterday, looking for food.
One of the key gains of military intervention was the liberation of some of the 20 women abducted by the gunmen who invaded Konduga.
According to a source in the military, going by the analysis of some reports, some mercenaries of the ex-Libyan leader have teamed up with Boko Haram sect to attack towns and villages in Borno State.
“These mercenaries relocated from Libya to Mali in the heat of the Libyan crisis, which led to the ouster of the late Ghadaffi. And with the intervention of French troops and African Mission, the mercenaries eventually lost their bases in Mali,” the source said, adding:
“You will recall that Nigerian troops also played a vital role in putting out insurgency in Mali.
“So, this is the latest bend to the insurgency we are curtailing in Borno State. With our sustained counter-attacks on Boko Haram sect, there was no way the group could remain stronger if there was no external backing.
“They have been using Hilux vans and trucks, painted in Nigerian Army colour, to invade towns and villages in Borno. If there is no external backing like those of Libyan mercenaries, the Boko Haram sect cannot go far.
“These mercenaries, with stinking funds at their disposal, have not even given up in Libya. On January 18, some of them were said to have overrun an Air Force Base outside the City of Sabha in Southern Libya. They do have an ally in Boko Haram.”
“There is the suspicion that the Libyan mercenaries are backing the Boko Haram sect in retaliation of the position on the Libyan crisis.
Responding to a question, the source added: “If you look at recent pattern of attacks, the insurgents cannot be said to be waging a Jihad or pursuing any agenda to Islamise Nigeria because they have been destroying churches, mosques and killing Christians and Muslims.
“It looks more of a war against the sovereignty of Nigeria than any religious colouration. This is why the military authorities have directed troops to go full blast on land and in the air.”
The top source assured that the troops will succeed in checking the insurgency in Borno State.
Some of the 20 women abducted by the insurgents have been liberated, but no specific figure was available yesterday.
Boko Haram had last Tuesday attacked Konduga, killing more than 39 people. They also destroyed about 2000 houses.
The insurgents abducted about 20 girls from the Government Girls Senior Science Secondary School and Ashigar School of Business and Administrative Studies.
The Governor of Borno State, Alhaji Kashim Shettima, who wept over the incident, said: “About 60 to 70 per cent of the town has been burnt down but we are willing to rebuild it.”
More troops have been deployed for protection of lives and properties in the troubled town. Besides, the Federal Government has moved truckloads of relief materials to Konduga.
According to a statement by NEMA, the “truckload of materials, which were transported by officials of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), led by its North-West Zonal Coordinator Muhammad Kanar, include food items, toiletries, clothing and other basic needs.
The statement said: “With the destruction of markets in the community, the gestures of the Federal Government were well-received by thousands of locals who trooped out from their abodes and hideouts to receive the materials.
“The Zonal Coordinator, Kanar, assured members of the community that more items would be distributed, including building materials to rehabilitate some of the structures destroyed in the recent attacks.
“NEMA has undertaken many of such interventions in recent times in various communities in Borno, Adamawa and Yobe states where a state of emergency has been declared as a result of the insurgent activities.”