Not less than 17 members of the Civilian JTF, an anti-terror volunteer group were on Sunday shot dead by gunmen suspected to be members of the Boko Haram sect in Benesheikh in Kaga Local Government Area, about 75 kilometres from Maiduguri, the Borno State capital. The incident happened days after the Joint Task Force announced that it killed 50 members of the sect during a battle.
Malam Zanna Fannami, who survived the rifle attack disclosed to journalists on his hospital bed at the University of Maiduguri Teaching Hospital that the attack took place around 12.30am. He said 17 others were also injured in the attack.
The group was on patrol trying to prevent a terror attack on the town when the incident occurred.
“The whole thing started around 12.30am as we were keeping vigil at the entrance of the town,” he said. He continued that “we heard an explosion near a military checkpoint, but before we could find out what was going on, we began to hear sporadic gunshots. Unknown to us, the attackers were hiding on top of trees all over the place. They killed 12 people on the spot, while another person died while receiving treatment at the hospital. Seventeen other people were also injured. But we did not give up, as we kept fighting them until we chased them away. We also killed four of the attackers as they fled and we got five pump action guns from them.”
Though Lt Col Sagir Musa, the spokesman of the JTF could not be reached for comments, Malam Garba Ngamdu, Special Adviser to the Borno State Governor on Labour Matters confirmed the incident. According to him, “it is true that the vigilantes were attacked on Sunday. We heard that the victims had prior knowledge of the attack, so they prepared against them. Unfortunately, the attackers had some informants in the group, which made it possible for them to attack.”
The Special Adviser also disclosed that those who had gunshot wounds have been admitted for treatment at the University of Maiduguri Teaching Hospital.