The polity was wrapped in outrage, yesterday, as the identities and details of how a baby, a female Mass Communication student of the University of Maiduguri, UNIMAID, and scores of others were massacred by Boko Haram insurgents, who ambushed motorists and passengers at Auno village, near Maiduguri, Borno State, on Sunday night, emerged.
The dead included a baby and its mother, a female student of the University of Maiduguri, simply identified as Fatima. Some of the victims were burnt beyond recognition by the attackers. A woman was raped and her newborn baby’s head was crushed to death before they were burnt in the ensuing inferno.
The village was deserted, yesterday, when Vanguard visited. Some stakeholders have blamed the military for the carnage and urged them to compensate the victims just as former Vice-President, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, called for a second look at possible ways to end Nigeria’s war against the Boko Haram insurgency. With Nigerian Army Commander, General Abdul Kalifa Ibrahim, attributing the mayhem to guerilla tactics adopted by the insurgents, Organised Labour urged the military to change its strategy and win the war.
Death toll now over 40 Initial accounts said 30 people died in the Auno attack. However, a vigilante, Yusuf Isa Kazalma, told Vanguard that the attack left no fewer than 40 people dead, including six insurgents and four civilians whose corpses were recovered in the bush during clearance operations on Monday. The motorists and passengers who were denied entry into Maiduguri for failing to meet the 5pm stipulated time set by security operatives, elected to pass the night at Auno village. Unfortunately, they were attacked by terrorists suspected to have come from Alagarno axis of Sambisa Forest.
Kazalma said the massacre started at about 9:50 pm. Located along Maiduguri-Damaturu highway, Auno is seven kilometres away from Maiduguri city centre and five kilometres from the newly established Borno State University campus.
This is even as another Boko Haram attack took place on Monday night in Tungushe village located along Maiduguri-Monguno road. Fortunately, this time, sources said, troops were able to repel the attack with the terrorists having casualties Governor Babagana Zulum, who visited the scene on Monday morning, was shocked to have discovered that no fewer than 30 people lost their lives with 18 vehicles, shops and residential houses set ablaze, lamenting that the disaster could have been averted, if the military did the needful The Theatre Commander, Major Gen Olusegun Adenyi disputed the figure and put the death toll to 10 at Press briefing on Monday. Said Zulum: “We have to be brutal in telling the truth. I am pushed to the wall to say the truth. Since I was inaugurated as governor of Borno State, Boko Haram has attacked Auno six times.
Another thing is that the military has been withdrawn from Auno town. “I am not undermining the capacity of the military but we have made repeated appeals for the military to establish their unit in Auno. They are here but as soon as it is 5 pm, they close the gate and lock the people and go back to Maiduguri.” Military must compensate families of Borno carnage – Kaka Bolori Bemoaning the attack, former chairman of Maiduguri Metropolitan Council, MMC, Kaka Bolori, said military authorities must compensate families of those killed by terrorists at Auno village. “There was no justification for the military to block the Damaturu-Maiduguri road, deny commuters passage, leaving them vulnerable to attack at night without any help from anywhere.
“It is unthinkable for the soldiers to ask hundreds of people to layover at Auno when everyone knows the place is not safe. “More widows and orphans were created on that day. This sad event has further increased the humanitarian challenges our people are facing. “The commanders that gave the directive for the travellers to be held hostage must be brought to book. In addition, the military must compensate families of the victims killed, must shoulder the bills of those injured and those who lost their valuables must also be fully compensated. There is no wisdom in blocking highways and subjecting commuters to all kinds of dangers,” Bolori said.