With most of their menfolk killed or on the run, women in the town of Gwoza, Borno State, have taken on the grim task of burying dozens of residents massacred in last week’s assault by insurgents belonging to the Islamist group, Boko Haram.
In telephone interviews, two sources in the town said the women of Gwoza were burying men, women and children who lost their lives when a vicious band of Boko Haram fighters descended on the town last week in an orgy of death and destruction.
“We are very fatigued,” one of the women told our correspondent. She added, “We are almost resigned to fate in our tedious and unusual work of burying scores of dead bodies that still litter our town.”
Another female source said it became necessary for them to bury the dead because “the men in our town and surrounding towns have either been slaughtered or have fled for fear of being killed.”
The source said the town was now peopled by trapped women, little children and the elderly who were spared by the Boko Haram fighters.
The insurgents have seized the Emir’s residence as well as a government lodge in Gwoza, and have appointed a replacement for the town’s fleeing Emir. Our sources added that Boko Haram’s black flags have been hoisted at different locations in the town as a mark of the sect’s authority.
A source also stated that the sect had introduced strict Islamic laws in the seized emirate.
A soldier involved in a counter-insurgency operation corroborated the accounts of the situation in Gwoza. He said some women and youths who arrived in Madagali, Adamawa State, after fleeing Gwoza and traveling through the rough terrain of hills painted terrifying portraits for military officials who interviewed them.
A senior military officer told SaharaReporters that the Nigerian Army was drawing up a strategic plan to execute “a multi-dimensional offensive in a bid to dislodge Boko Haram from Gwoza and surrounding villages.”