- Category: National Security
- Published on Monday, 05 December 2011 09:28
- Written by Admin
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more than 100 gunmen suspected to be from the Boko Haram sect raided Azare, Bauchi State, early yesterday morning, bombing two police stations and two banks in an attack that killed many people, residents and police authorities said.
The attackers, who launched their assault shortly after midnight, bombed the police area command and a nearby police station, reducing them to rubble. They also bombed and robbed local branches for the Guaranty Trust Bank and Intercontinental Bank, residents said.
Bauchi State Police commissioner Ikechukwu Aduba confirmed the incident, saying a police officer, a soldier, a civilian and three gunmen were killed during the attack that lasted for hours.
“Our men did their best; they prevented the attackers from gaining entrance into the barracks. Every side suffered casualty, we suffered our casualty, our mobile policeman was killed, a soldier was killed, and a civilian, and the hoodlums also suffered many casualties,” he told us. “It’s a real war because the hoodlums invaded Azare in large numbers. They are over 100. We did our best but because of the power of fire arms both sides suffered casualties.”
The commissioner said over 20 rocket-propelled bombs were launched from outside the area command’s headquarters building, leaving the structure completely destroyed. He said about 30 policemen on duty at the area command office responded and repelled the attackers.
“The attack was launched simultaneously at six facilities including the mobile police base, the area commander’s office, the police station, two banks and one Ali Kwara’s residence,” he said. Ali Kwara is a popular local thief catcher, who also served as security adviser to a minister of the FCT in 2007-2008.
The Associated Press news agency quoted Aduba as saying no arrest was made, but that the Boko Haram sect was suspected of carrying out the attack.
A senior official of Katagum LGA said when they launched their attack, the gunmen blocked all the roads leading to the places they intended to target. “Then we heard sporadic gunshots and huge blasts. The attack lasted for over three hours,” he said.
A Red Cross official, who was at the Federal Medical Centre in Azare where victims of the attacks were taken, said he saw the bodies of a soldier, a policeman and an errand boy for the police, while two policemen were being treated for gunshot wounds.
Even though the police commissioner confirmed the death of six people including the gunmen, residents told us that the number of those killed in the attack was much more than the police were admitting.
A resident who does not want to be named said apart from policemen who were killed in the shootout with the gunmen, there were also detainees in police cells who were killed as the bombs exploded. He said also that there were newly transferred police personnel staying in the premises of the area command and some of them might have been killed in the attack.
When we asked if the police were understating the deaths, police commissioner Aduba said, “We are not hiding anything. Outside the fence of our office we saw blood, a lot of blood was lost, which clearly shows that they (the gunmen) too have suffered casualties and from the report three of the hoodlums were gunned down.
“Go and ask anybody in Azare, this is the correct number of casualties we recorded. We don’t have anything to hide; we too have relatives if people are affected they have relatives, the relatives will complain.”
Yesterday, there was heavy presence of riot policemen cordoning the roads leading to the areas attacked as police bomb squad sweep through the rubble of the razed structures. There were unexploded bomb canisters littering the premises of the two banks.
This was one of many similar attacks in Bauchi State in recent months. There had been such gun assaults and bomb raids in Misau, Gamawa, Alkaleri and Toro, some of which were claimed by the Boko Haram sect. (Daily Trust)