Sani Usman, a brigadier and director army public relations, has said Wednesday evening’s attack on Magumeri, Borno state, was carried out by terrorists who are well known to the town’s residents.
It was reported that the attack forced hundreds of civilians to flee into Maiduguri while some sought safety in the bush.
Confirming the attack in a statement on Thursday, Usman said there seems to be an “unholy alliance” between the terrorists and the villagers.
He said the terrorists “came from the same community”, adding that Magumeri was never attacked during the period of insurgency.
According to Usman, troops of 8 task force division successfully “prevented the mishap” and have neutralised quite a number of the attackers while those that escaped with gunshot wounds are being pursued.
“The terrorists who came with some vehicles at about 6.00pm attempted to set the town ablaze and kill the residents but the timely intervention of the troops prevented that mishap.
“So far, the troops have recovered 3 vehicles and large quantity of arms and ammunition,” he said.
“While troops are still consolidating and mopping up, it is imperative to state that preliminary investigation shows that the attackers of Magumeri came from the same community. The terrorists that attack the village are well known to the people.
“It should also be noted that the village was never attacked throughout the period of the insurgency for some inexplicable reasons. The terrorists and their collaborators hibernating in the area were never exposed. There seems to be unholy alliance between the terrorists and the villagers.
“Consequently, we are constrained to state that it’s now high time for the people to take up the fight themselves and help the Nigerian military and other security agencies to protect them. It is a grievous mistake and criminal offence to continue to shield or harbour any known Boko Haram terrorist in their midst.
“The terrorists must be exposed and their movements promptly reported to the security agencies. The terrorists are inhuman and barbaric, therefore cannot be trusted to spare anyone in perpetuating their inhuman acts.
“It is imperative that all communities in the North East especially Borno State, should fully cooperate with the military and the Security agencies by exposing Boko Haram terrorists in their respective towns and villages.”