The latest reports from Maiduguri in Borno State, Nigeria has it that gunmen suspected to be members of the Boko Haram sect who have continuously terrorized the state for more than four years have carried out another successful operation in the state. This time, the insurgents have kidnapped no less than 20 people from a passenger bus from Maiduguri, heading to Gwoza, Borno State.
Sadly, the incident comes barely a week after insurgents invaded a military base in Borno State, leaving at least 30 soldiers dead in their wake.
The recent kidnap was confirmed on Wednesday by military sources, a family member and Senator Ali Ndume, who represents Borno South in the National Assembly.
Although military sources said over 10 men and women were abducted, vigilante sources gave the number as 20.
Isa Musa, who said his uncle was one of those kidnapped, said: “He was in the bus with some other passengers, men and women, about 20 of them, when the incident occurred”.
A military source added: “One of the vehicles is a commercial passenger bus with about 20 passengers.
“The terrorists fired shots and took away some of the passengers. Women were among [them] and one of our soldiers was killed in the attack.”
Ndume, meanwhile, said he had been contacted by the wife of one of the victims.
What is more worrisome however is the position and media campaign of the Nigerian military who continue to claim that they have completely crushed every presence of Boko Haram insurgency in the state, yet we hear stories weekly of one attack or the other, which often leads to the deaths of many soldiers - who seem to have become a soft target.
Barely a week ago, Colonel Onyeama Nwachukwu, Deputy Director, Public Relations, Theatre Command Operation Lafiya Dole, disclosed in a statement made available to newsmen in Maiduguri that the village and the surrounding communities in Borno State had been stabilized and normalcy restored.
He also said that the land troops had been reinforced to conduct more robust fighting patrol in the general area.
“The people of Guzamala and Mobar communities and indeed the entire good people of Borno are urged to remain calm, resilient and supportive of Operation Lafiya Dole troops as they relentlessly fight terrorism and insurgency in the North- -East,” Nwachukwu said.
The army seems to be saying one thing and the events say another. This is sad because the body language and cheap media publicity of the army and government may have a misleading effect on residents of the area who drop their guards believing that all is well.
There is no doubt that the brave men of the Nigerian military are doing a lot and putting their lives on the line to protect the territorial boarders of the country, but the citizens deserve the right to know the actual situation of things and should have access to the truth at all times.