Maiduguri, Borno State — Yesterday, December 9, a group of insurgents attacked motorists along Maiduguri-Damboa-Biu Road. The unknown gunmen abducted the drivers, and set ablaze two trucks loaded with oranges and a Toyota Hilux truck.
The incident happened not far away from Limanti/Bullabulin Ngarwa communities, where, recently, Boko Haram conducted a series of deadly road attacks.
The previous day, suspected Boko Haram terrorists ambushed motorists along Gwoza-Firgi-Ngurosoya Federal Highway in Borno State. Five passengers were murdered in the course of the assault.
It is worth noting that the sect members conducted the attack on the same day the National Security Adviser (NSA), Col Sambo Dasuki (rtd.), had initiated a new approach and a change of tactics in fighting Boko Haram terrorism.
According to the motorist who managed to escape the attack, Mallam Musa Usman, the incident took place at about 9 a.m.
He said a number of terrorists were seen driving from their enclave in the Sambisa Game Forest to the highway; on getting to the highway, they barricaded the road and blocked other vehicles.
“I have to thank God for sparing my life with two of my children, whom I was taking to Biu for the Christmas holiday after finishing their examinations last week,” he said.
Usman added that upon reaching the scene, he saw the terrorists ordering the abducted drivers into their vehicles.
“We nearly fell into the hands of terrorists. But, as God would have it, I saw unusual movements along the road, just some few metres to the scene, and I immediately put my vehicle on reverse gear, before making U-turn back to Maiduguri.”
“They set ablaze three vehicles including a truck loaded with oranges,” he said.
He remembered encountering two security check-points before almost falling into the hands of the Boko Haram members.
Another eyewitness, Mallam Salisu Yahaya, who was on his way from Biu to Maiduguri, accounted: “When we reached the place, we discovered that three vehicles were burning, but nobody was there.
“When our driver manoeuvred his way to pass through the road, we couldn’t see anyone there”.
“After passing the scene, our driver stopped at a small village near the place of the attack to find out from the villagers whether the road was safe. But we were told that some Boko Haram terrorists from Sambisa forests this morning [yesterday] barricaded the road in a nearby bush unleashing terror on motorists.”
Army sources confirmed the incident, but failed to provide further details. Spokesman of the 7 Division, Nigerian Army, Colonel Mohammed Dole, promised to issue a statement on the matter as soon as the division finished compiling its report on the issue.
Meanwhile, the Presidency may have initiated a new approach and a change of tactics in fighting terrorism, saying it had realised that military operations alone cannot stop the menace of terrorism.
Dasuki, who made the disclosure at the Strategic Communications workshop held at the National Defence College, yesterday, said “a robust public diplomacy,” which would involve every facet of the society, including aggressive mass media participation, is to be put in place to tackle the menace.