Governor of Borno State, Babagana Umara Zulum, has confirmed the ambush and killing of security forces escorting a state convoy to Baga, where the government was supervising reconstruction efforts.
Zulum expressed his sorrow over the killing of eight policemen and three civilian Joint Task Force members during the attack on Friday morning.
The governor was in Baga from Thursday to Friday to supervise efforts to return displaced residents to the fishing community on the shores of Lake Chad with waterways to neighbouring countries.
The town is also a vital supply lifeline for the insurgency, according to a statement shared by the Government of Borno.
Zulum’s spokesman, Malam Isa Gusau, said on Saturday that two convoys 一 one belonging to the governor and the second a committee on Baga reconstruction 一 had safely plied the Maiduguri-Baga route days before the third convoy of security operatives was ambushed despite precautionary measures taken to ensure safety.
Gusau stated that Governor Zulum was saddened by the violent incident.
“He shares the grief of families of these 11 priceless heroes to whom Borno shall remain grateful. The governor prays for the repose of their souls and urges all stakeholders to remain committed to ongoing peace building efforts.’’
The governor urged everyone to continue to keep hope alive even in the face of tribulations and believe that, with sustained efforts and prayers, peace will eventually be restored in the state.
“The situation facing us is a tough one but we must choose between doing something which gives us some hope and doing nothing which will leave us more vulnerable to Boko Haram’s ultimate wish to take over Borno and bring it under their sovereign brutal administration,” he said.
In Baga, Zulum inspected reconstruction efforts and also attended the town’s first jum’at prayers in nearly two years.
Borno police command in a statement released on Saturday by the Public Relations Officer, DSP Edet Okon Police, said the convoy was attacked along Monguno-Cross Kauwa road on September 25 at about 12 pm. Okon added that the security convoy returned fire and successfully repelled the attack.
“In the ensuing gunfight, however, casualties were recorded on both sides. Unfortunately, eight (8) Policemen and three (3) members of the Civilian Joint Task Force paid the supreme price. Thirteen (13) other persons sustained various degrees of injuries and were rushed to the hospital for treatment,” he said.
In an earlier report, HumAngle highlighted the security risks in Baga and its environs, as well as the town’s significance to the government and the local population. Violence in the region has led to the death of an estimated 30,000 people and displaced over 2.3 million others since 2009.