Borno State Governor, Babagana Umara Zulum said he is saddened by the killing of 11 security personnel made up of eight policemen and three Civilian JTF members ambushed on their way to Baga as security backup in reconstruction efforts.
A statement by his spokesman, Mallam Isa Gusau, on Saturday said those killed included eight policemen and three civilian JTF members who were ambushed on their way to Baga as security back-ups in reconstruction efforts.
The statement said the governor was in Baga from Thursday till Friday in an effort to supervise efforts to return residents to the area.
Baga, which is Borno’s largest fishing community in the shores of the Lake Chad with waterways to neighboring countries, is considered strategic to Boko Haram’s operation.
Gusau revealed that two convoys – one belonging to the governor and another, the committee on Baga reconstruction – had safely plied the Maiduguri-Baga route previous days before the third convoy of security men was ambushed on Friday morning even after precautionary steps had been taken to ensure safe trips.
The statement read in part, “Governor Babagana Umara Zulum is saddened by this unfortunate carnage. He shares the grief of families of these 11 priceless heroes to whom Borno shall remain grateful.
“The governor prays for the repose of their souls and urges all stakeholders to remain committed to ongoing peacebuilding efforts. Zulum is of the opinion that we must continue to keep hope alive even in the face of tribulations and believe that with sustained efforts and prayers, Borno will eventually regain peace.
“The situation facing us is a tough one but we must choose between doing something which gives us some hope and doing nothing which will leave us more vulnerable to Boko Haram’s ultimate wish to takeover Borno and bring it under their sovereign brutal administration.”
The statement said the governor attended Baga’s first Jumu’ah prayers in nearly two years.
Baga town was displaced by the Boko Haram insurgents 21 months ago, with most of the residents taking refuge in Monguno and Maiduguri.
Meanwhile, the Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF), has described the Friday’s attack on Zulum’s convoy, as “alarming.”
ACF, in a statement signed by its National Publicity Secretary, Emmanuel Yawe on Saturday in Kaduna, condemned the fresh attack.
ACF opined that the terrorists were targeting Zulum because he was raising hope in a demoralised country.
“We are alarmed that the deadly attacks have continued in Borno despite assurances received from the military and the federal government of an improved security situation.
“Only last week, a serving senior military officer, Col. Bako, was ambushed and killed around Demboa in the same Borno.
“In July, Zulum came under gunfire while on an official tour.”
The forum said the renewed attacks are affecting public confidence in the ability of the military to successfully defend Nigeria in the ongoing war against terror.
The Forum, however, urged the military to act swiftly to restore public confidence, adding that if anything untoward happens to Gov. Zulum, the consequences for the rest of the country will be grave.
According to ACF, the attacks by terrorists while the governor was trying to move some IDPs back to their permanent homes from camps have raised questions on the ability to ensure the safety of IDPs seeking to return to their homes.
“The military and the Federal Government must act swiftly to end this war,” the statement added.