Despite the Army’s claim to the contrary, many civilians and soldiers were killed and many more wounded when Boko haram terrorists overran Gudumbali in Guzamala Local Government Area of Borno State on Friday and Saturday, SaharaReporters can confirm.
According to a highly placed source, the casualty toll is alarming on the sides of both the civilians and the soldiers.
“Dozens of soldiers were killed and a huge death toll is on civilians as well, as a result of the gun battle between soldiers and insurgents,” said the source.
“It is very alarming. Dozens, especially women, are still trapped in bushes.
“Many wounded civilians and soldiers are currently receiving treatment in Monguno and Gubio towns respectively.”
Already, over 300 people have arrived Maiduguri, the Borno State capital, following the invasion over their town in Guzamala Local Government Area.
Some of the fleeing civilians are currently at the Bakassi Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camp in Maiduguri, while some more, along with soldiers, fled to Gubio, Monguno and Nganzai.
“We trekked from Gudumbari town all through the night before we get to Monguno on Saturday morning at about 10am, but we left for Maiduguri at 2pm because we felt we were not safe,” said Modu Yousuf, a civilian.
“They overran the military battalion at 7pm on Friday but the town actually fell to their hands on Saturday morning.”
Abdullahi Bukar, a meat seller who escaped untimely death on Friday, recalled that the terrorists came in their hundreds in military fatigues.
“Our experience was horrible,” Bukar said.
“They were more than 500 in number; they surrounded the whole town, firing RPGs and all their vehicles mounted with Anti-Aircraft Guns (AA).
“There was confusion everywhere. If they had wanted to kill all the civilians by now we would have all been dead. Still, many were killed; both soldiers and civilians.
“They were telling the returnees: ‘This time around, we didn't come to attack you; just leave the town; we are here to reclaim our territory. If you like us, stay with us; we are not going to harm you.
“Many people were killed in crossfire, I can't tell you the casualties figure but I saw many women and children hit by gun bullets.”
The Army, though, claimed otherwise.
Texas Chukwu, a Brigadier-General and Director of the Army Public Relations, said in a statement: “Combined troops of 82 Division Task Force Brigade and 158 Task Force Battalion conducting Counter Insurgency Operations in North Eastern Nigeria, on Friday 7 September 2018 had an encounter with Boko Haram insurgents in Gudumbali in Guzamala Local Government Area of Borno state.
“The encounter took place when the insurgents attacked the community, set some buildings ablaze and quickly withdrew from the community. However, no human casualty was recorded in the encounter. The troops have regrouped and normalcy has been restored. The troops have also been reinforced with additional troops to dominate the general area.”