After the death of more than 185 people as a result of a gun battle between men of the Joint Task Force and suspected members of the Boko Haram sect in Baga, a border town in Borno State, Governor Kashim Shettima has disclosed that if peace does not return to the troubled down, he might be forced to relocate his office there from Maiduguri.
Though residents blamed the torching of over 2000 houses, 40 cars and 64 motorcycles on the JTF, the commander of the Task Force, Brigadier General Austin Edokpaiye said “we received an intelligence that some suspected Boko Haram members usually pray and hide arms at a particular mosque in town. It was around that mosque that our men were attacked with several of them injured and an officer died. When we reinforced and returned to the scene, the terrorists came out with heavy firepower including RPGs which usually has a conflagration effect.”
While the battle which started around 8 pm on Friday and lasted till the following day raged, many residents fled into neighbouring bushes and they remained there till the Governor visited the area on Sunday. While trying to assure the people of their safety, the Governor said “if the harassment continues, I will personally relocate here from Maiduguri. Let me be harassed along with the rest of the people”. He therefore urged the JTF Commander to personally ensure that peace returns
Meanwhile, the Defence Headquarters stated that a soldier lost his life in the battle while 25 members of the Boko Haram sect were killed. As of the time of filing the report, the issue had not been reported by state media.