One month after the declaration of emergency rule to fight insurgency in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa states, violence has erupted again, as gunmen suspected to be members of Islamist terrorist sect attacked four communities of Hwa’a, Kunde, Gathahure and Gjigga of Gwoza Hills settlements, torching four churches with Improvised Explosives Devices,IEDS, and petro-bombs Thursday afternoon.
According to Tada Garuta, a resident of Kunde, the gunmen climbed the hills on foot with explosives and petro-bombs, and chanted God is great, in Arabic, before setting four local churches ablaze. Thereafter, they ransacked and emptied their bans of grains along with some livestocks. Gathahure and Hwa’a communities were also affected.
The attacked communities are located in Gwoza council area of Borno state of Mandara Hills, and 151 kilometres south of Maiduguri, the state capital.
Two churches at Hrazah and Hembe,hilly communities were also torched by the gunmen in April this year with the killing of two residents.
Garuta also told newsmen in Maiduguri, Bama road Motor Park 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), while picking mangoes at his father’s orchard on the hills settlement of Hwa’a.
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 the gunmen’s threats of being killed, as he insisted on being a Christian among his people on the hills of Hwa’a. They slit his throat with sharp objects; and we started to flee for safety, as we don’t know the next targets of these gunmen.”
He said because of fears and terrorizing around Hwa’a’s community, none of the residents came to pick the body of the slain Reverend for burial and prayers.
Lamenting on the continued fears of hills dwellers, Garuta said: “after the church at Hrazah was also torched by the gunmen, the people had to flee.”
He said they have now relocated to Ngoshe Ndahang, 10 kilometres east of Limankara, a border village with Cameroon and Adamawa state.
It was also disclosed by Garuta that the district heads of Kurana Bassa and Damboa were also killed by gunmen, adding that when the principal (name withheld) of Government Day Secondary School; Izge was travelling 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 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 must have fled from their demobilized 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 peripheral of the Borno Forests, which had been reclaimed and taken over by the soldiers since the commencement of our operations here in this state.”