Residents and security operatives in Maiduguri, North East Nigeria, say they are increasingly alarmed as terrorists have been seen intimidating motorists and demanding fuel from each vehicle on the Maiduguri-Mafa road during the weekend.
An operative of the Civilian Joint Task Force (JTF), Abba Musa, revealed to HumAngle that several commercial drivers had to abruptly return home on Saturday after they were ambushed by the fuel-seeking militants. The assailants, who were heavily armed and riding on 13 motorcycles, forced each vehicle to donate a gallon (5 litres) of fuel for their bikes.
Abatcha Bukar, a local driver, described the harrowing encounter. “They were armed to the teeth, riding on 13 motorcycles, with additional personnel in a truck, equipped with a large gun akin to military artillery,” he said. Bukar was forced to abandon his journey to collect firewood due to the intimidating presence of the extremists.
“I advise that people should be careful while travelling along the route, especially during odd hours of the day, like very early in the morning and late in the evenings,” he said.
These incidents have occurred amidst a surge in violence perpetrated by Boko Haram, who have been increasingly targeting vulnerable populations and security forces.
In another distressing development, insurgents launched a lethal assault on the Gubio Police Divisional Office in Borno State last Friday. Gubio is 97 km northeast of Maiduguri and 140km away from Mafa town.
The Friday attack at Gubio resulted in the murder of a policeman and the theft of a police vehicle. The assailants were said to have arrived in Hilux vehicles and on motorcycles, instigating a chaotic scene with indiscriminate shooting beginning around 2 a.m.
The police authority in Borno State had confirmed the death of a police inspector during the engagement with the terrorists and reported that a constable is still missing. The stolen operational police vehicle adds to the growing concerns about the capabilities and resources of these terrorist factions.
The police public relations officer, ASP Nahum Daso, could not be reached for comment at the time of this report. However, other police sources confirmed the incident.
“Yes, we lost an inspector during the unfortunate attack on our men in Gubio on Friday,” a police officer who spoke to HumAngle but wished not to be named in this report said.
Boko Haram and its breakaway faction, Islamic State West African Province (ISWAP), have continued to terrorise the state and the Lake Chad region for over a decade now.
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