A statement issued yesterday by the DHQ in Abuja, gave one of the most reassuring messages in recent times concerning the battle with insurgents especially in Borno and Adamawa states.
A message it posted online and later issued an update, indicated that Mubi, Michika, Bazza, Gulak, Gwoza, Bama, Gamboru Ngala and other towns and villages in the region that had been under Boko Haram’s siege “are being stabilized through air and land attacks against fleeing and dying terrorists. The efforts are yielding impressive results in the overall move to rid the areas of terrorists’ activities,” the statement noted.
But the indigenes of Bama disagreed with the military’s claim, insisting Boko Haram is still in firm control of the town.
The DHQ was angry with some media outfits that are creating panic and cheering the terrorists in their reportage.
“While the media has a duty to report what is happening in these troubled areas, it should do that with caution and a sense of responsibility to the larger good of the nation and its safety, and not to cause panic and chaos in the region by deliberately ignoring visibly formidable security measures and reporting negativity.”
The DHQ said in its tweet that: “Alarmist report on local, foreign and online media on Maiduguri is clearly intended to cause panic in the city and the nation.All facets of security arrangements for the defence of Maiduguri has been upgraded to handle any planned attack or attempt to disrupt the city’s prevailing peace. This kind of alarmist report is uncalled for in view of the efforts and alertness of troops to push back the insurgents.
“Citizens are nevertheless enjoined to remain vigilant as they go about their lawful businesses. Meanwhile, the situation in Mubi, Michika, Bazza, Gulak, Gwoza, Bama, Gamboru Ngala and other parts of the North East is being stabilized as highly coordinated air and land operations are ongoing. The efforts are yielding impressive results in the overall move to rid the areas of terrorists’ activities,” the DHQ noted.
The security situation in the North-East was a major concern in the past one week as some towns in Borno and Adamawa states were reported to have been overrun by insurgents who hoisted their flags and had a firm reign in the cities and towns.
Residents fled their homes as the terrorists commenced mass killings. And lately, the Federal Polytechnic in Taraba State and the Adamawa State University in Mubi, the state’s second largest city, were shut down as students were asked to leave the campuses for their safety. But with yesterday’s announcement, hope of normalcy might soon return to these troubled places.
But residents of Bama under the auspices of Bama Development Foundation claimed yesterday that Boko Haram insurgents are still in the town, contrary to claims of being recaptured.
The military had said it had recaptured Bama after last week bloody attack which led to the death of many including soldiers and civilians, forcing about 12, 000 residents to flee to Maiduguri.
Addressing journalists yesterday in Maiduguri, Chairman of the group, Alhaji Mohammed Hassan, who was accompanied by the Secretary, Alhaji Kachallah Grema Kyari, said they have been speaking with some residents on phone who are trapped in the town, adding that they have been giving account of Boko Haram activities in the town.
“Even today (Thursday), Boko Haram is still in full control of Bama town. The insurgents are seen all over the town moving and patrolling the streets. We even learnt they shuttle between Bama and Gwoza town freely,” Hassan said.
“All what the military have been saying or telling the public is not true. The military have not been going to or coming out of Bama town because the insurgents have taken over the town. The insurgents don’t allow anybody to come in or go out. They are on surveillance of the town moving everywhere all the time
“We have made phone calls and reached out to some of our people that are still hiding in villages near the Bama town and they have been telling us Boko Haram is still there, they are seeing them moving within and outside the town but no one can move or come out.
“Majority of our people are hungry because they don’t have access to food and water in their hiding places. Some are critically sick in their houses and can’t come out to access the government hospital or clinic. No staff or workers at the General Hospital. People don’t go to their shops and markets. Shops have been vandalized by the insurgents. The terrorists burgled all the shops and empty the shops,” he said.