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Suspected Boko Haram Gunmen Kill Pastor, Others In Borno State
Maiduguri – A month after the Military Special Operations Force (MSOP) was deployed to combat Boko Haram insurgents in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa states, violence has erupted again in Borno, as gunmen suspected to be members of the Islamist terrorist’s sect, Thursday, attacked four communities of Hwa’a, Kunde, Gathahure and Gjigga of Gwoza Hills settlements, torching four churches with Improvised Explosives Devices (IEDS) and petrol-bombs.
According to Tada Garuta, a resident of Kunde, the gunmen climbed the hills on foot with explosives and petrol-bombs, and chanted God is great, in Arabic, before setting four local churches ablaze; and ransacked and emptied their bans of grains along with some livestock before moving over to the next community of Gathahure and Hwa’a at dawn.
The attacked communities are located in Gwoza council area of Borno state of Mandara Hills, 151 kilometres south of Maiduguri, the state capital.
It will be recalled that gunmen torched two churches at Hrazah and Hembe, both hill dwellers communities, in April this year, killing two residents.
Garuta also told the Guardian, yesterday that after torching another church in Hwa’a community, the gunmen also killed Rev. Jacob Kwiza (Rtd) of Church of Christ in Nigeria (COCIN).
He said: “As the gunmen threw some explosives at our church, they forced the retired Reverend to renounce Christianity and be converted to Islam. But Rev. Jacob defied their threats, insisting on being a Christian among his people on the hills of Hwa’a. They slit his throat with a sharp object. We started to flee for safety, as we don’t know who would be the next victim.”
He said because of fear and terror inflicted on hill dwellers in Hwa’a community, none of the residents came to pick the body of slain Reverend for burial and prayers.
Lamenting the continued fears of hills dwellers, Garuta said: “After the church at Hrazah was also torched by the gunmen, the people had to flee. They relocated to Ngoshe Ndahang, a hill dwellers community, 10 kilometres east of Limankara, a border village with Cameroon and Adamawa state in Borno state.”
Garuta further disclosed that, in separate attacks, the district heads of Kurana Bassa and Damboa were also killed by gunmen, and that when the principal of Day Secondary School, Izge was traveling on his motorcycle to the school on Thursday, he was trailed and shot dead by unknown gunmen.
He said: “The district head of Kurana Bassa was trailed by gunmen in a Golf Volkswagen vehicle, before he was shot dead at Mbamba village of Gwoza council area of the state.”
Speaking on the infiltration of fleeing Boko Haram gunmen into the neighbouring towns of Gwoza, Damboa, Chibok and other communities yesterday, a top military officer of the Special Operation Force said that the gunmen could have fled from their destroyed training camps of Sambisa Games Reserve Forests.
He said: “All the attacked towns and communities, where churches and local residents were recently burnt and killed by the suspected Boko Haram gunmen, are located at the peripheries and borders of the Borno Forests, which had been reclaimed and being patrolled by soldiers since the commencement of our operations here in this state.”-Guardian