A terror group on Tuesday, July 5, opened a barrage of gunfire at the convoy of Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari while moving logistics and support staff to his hometown of Daura ahead of his Eid visit.
According to the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, the incident occurred near the town of Dutsin-Ma in the northwestern state of Katsina.
“Two persons in the convoy are receiving treatment for the minor injuries they suffered,” he said.
Dutsin-Ma is around 151 kilometres from Daura, where the convoy was conveying the advance team comprising security officials, protocol and media officers ahead of the President’s visit for the Eid celebration later in the week.
The military personnel, police officers, and agents of the Department of State Services (DSS) who were with the convoy were said to have pushed back the attackers.
The convoy’s movement would have involved an extensive amount of personnel, vehicles, and security agencies. The attack occurred despite the likely assumption that it would have provided deterrence.
Two police officers were killed in another incident on Tuesday in Katsina. According to the police, the incident occurred after a terror group ambushed a team on a clearance operation in Zakka Forest in the Safana Local Government Area of the state.
Because of its proximity to the Rugu Forest near Kankara, the road in Dutsin-Ma is notorious for recording frequent terrorist attacks on motorists who ply it to reach towns in Katsina. In order to avoid the attacks, many people travelling from Abuja to Katsina take the longest route through Dayi to their destinations instead of using the Rugu axis.
Rugu is a thick and vast forest that stretches from Kaduna State’s troubled Birnin Gwari area through Katsina and connects to Zamfara State in Northwest Nigeria. Thousands of terrorists, including Ansaru Jihadists, are believed to have been using the forest as a hideout to plan and carry out attacks.
“There are two routes from Abuja to Katsina: one through Kankara and the other through Dayi. Despite its distance, many people travel through Dayi because it has fewer attacks than Kankara via Dutsin-Ma. The major attacks have been recorded in the Funtua zone, and Kankara is a part of it,” Idris Muhammad, a security analyst based in Katsina, told HumAngle.
According to him, the terrorists might not have realised they were attacking a presidential convoy because people passing through the road are aware it is one of the most dangerous in Katsina. He explained that the terrorists might have waited for any advancing travellers to attack without any specific plan to pounce on a specific presidential convoy.
Muhammad, however, said this is not an excuse because the presidential security intelligence should have been aware of this danger before embarking on the journey. “This indicates that everything has collapsed. It is an open insult to the president to see that he is not safe even in his own country,” he added
Residents of Katsina and the entire Northwest have long been aware that they are not safe, he noted. But this attack will add insult to injury and increase their sense of helplessness, as it shows that not even the country’s highest officials are safe.
As Eid approaches and people return home for celebrations, Idris predicts that terrorist attacks will likely continue in areas where they have a strong presence. He advised travellers to avoid dangerous roads even if they are the shortest routes to their final destinations.
The attack reflects increasing levels of insecurity in the region over the past years, involving terror groups who attack communities and commuters and carry out widespread kidnapping for ransom.
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