Suspected members of the Boko Haram sect broke loose in Maiduguri, capital of Borno state, on Friday, hijacking bags of rice which the World Food Programme (WFP) planned to distribute to internally displaced persons (IDPs).
WFP is the food assistance branch of the United Nations (UN) and the world’s largest humanitarian organisation addressing hunger. It has been distributing food items to IDPs and other vulnerable groups in the state worst hit by insurgency.
Maigari Bala, a driver, who witnessed the incident, told TheCable that the insurgents struck in the Damboa road axis of the ancient town.
“They laid siege on the road around 3pm this afternoon. They seized a truck loaded with rice which was meant for distribution at an internally displaced person (IDPs), camp in Damboa,” he said.
“We took to our heels when we saw them in a very large number. They were shooting everywhere and chanting ‘Allahu Akhbar’.” Bala said the insurgents did not kill anyone but were only interested in the foodstuff.
Bashir Isa, another driver, who was on his way from Biu, a community still in Borno, expressed how lucky he was for not running into the armed men. “On a normal day, they would have killed everyone in sight, but this time around, they came for food,” he said.
“I thank God that I didn’t run into him.” A similar incident occurred on Bama road last year. Insurgents had seized a truck conveying rice meant for IDPs.