Hundreds of residents of Gashigar village, a border community between Borno State and Niger Republic have fled the state to take refuge in the neighbouring country, after a series of attacks by suspected members of outlawed Islamist sect Boko Haram, which left 15 persons dead.
Both residents and security sources told journalists Sunday that the village is now deserted as there have been several attacks on it.
Some of the residents of Gashigar, a fishing community that shares boundary with villages in Niger Republic said seven persons were killed while over 60 shops and eight vehicles were razed during an attack by gunmen on Thursday night.
The villagers have complained that their cases were made worse by the absence of security agents in the community.
Confirming the attack, Public Relations Officer of the Borno State Police Command, Gideon Jibrin, however debunked the villagers’ claim that there was no police presence in their area.
“It is not correct that we don’t have police formation in Mobbar Local Government and surrounding villages. If their claim is true, then how come we are confirming the incident to you? The report got to the table of our state commissioner of police within the shortest possible time after it took place,” he said.
He added that apart from the seven persons that were killed, “three others who were running out of fear got drowned in the river.”
The attack on Gashigar came about four days after a similar one was made on two neighbouring villages where the insurgents were believed to have attacked and killed five persons.
An eyewitness, Alhaji Talba Gashigar, former vice-chairman of Mobbar Local Government Area, told journalists that during last Thursday’s attack, the gunmen began shooting sporadically and setting shops and vehicles ablaze.
“Some gunmen invaded our town, driving three vehicles and many motorcycles. They drove straight to the market area and began shooting and setting shops ablaze. About eight cars were also burnt.
“We had to flee for our dear lives because the gunmen came in troops and there were no security personnel in our locality. We ran across the borders into the Camerounian villages but seven of our fellow villagers were shot dead; and over 60 houses and shops were also burnt down completely.
“They spent about two hours operating in the town. Unfortunately, our town has no security operative to protect us. We are in a state of fear and confusion now; we cannot sleep in the villages here on the Nigerian side. Once dusk begins to set in, everyone locks up and crosses the borders to Diffa. Most of us board our canoes and cross over the river boundary and passed the night in Diffa,” Gashigar said.