The fear of Boko Haram


Boko Haram group

By John Shiklam and Ibrahim Shuaibu

The local proverb that any animal which escapes from a set trap in the bush will always run far from every bent stick, whether it is a trap or not, played out yesterday in Kaduna, when residents went into a frenzy and palpable panic over a ‘suspect bag”. It turned out that the killer bag just contained sachets of packed water popularly called ‘pure water’.

But the jitter is not for nothing. Kaduna has fallen victim to the Boko Haram onslaught on several occasions resulting in huge casualty figures.

The tension and panic created by the ‘suspect’ was so strong and thick that it could almost be cut with a knife. It happened among residents of Sabon Gari in Tundun Wada area in the metropolis when a kit bag suspected to contain bomb was discovered at the residence of a former council chairman.

The incident occurred just as the Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) condemned last Sunday’s bombing of St. Finbarr’s Catholic Church in Jos and called on Nigerians to unite and fight terrorism.

Former chairman of Kaduna South Local Government Area, Alhaji Auwalu Ali Tafoki, was said to have discovered the kit bag suspected to be containing the bomb at about 6am after returning from the morning prayers usually observed by Muslims. The bag was said to have been dropped by unknown persons.

Given the tension and rampant cases of bomb attacks in the city, Tafoki took the bag for a load of bombs. He raised the alarm. And pronto, the whole neighbourhood was alerted. The residents, in quick droves began to run as fast as they could, just to be far enough from the bag, which they thought, would soon explode. Nobody dared to be near the ‘suspect’.

Many did not even bother seeing it before fleeing. Many of those who dared in the past to “see and confirm” did not live to tell of what they saw.

Tafoki was said to have raised the alarm and immediately evacuated his family members from the building after which he reported the discovery to the police at the Ungwar Sanusi Police Station.

The police immediately cordoned off the area as bomb disposal experts made efforts to defuse the suspected bomb just as men of the Fire Service were drafted to the area with fire engine trucks to forestall any fire incident that might occur in the process of detonating the suspected bomb.

They all looked set for the great encounter. The nozzles of the fire fighters seemed ready to immediately quench any arising fire. Their kits were checked again and again to confirm if everything was in place. The fire engine was revving. Strategic positions had been taken.

The incident caused fear and panic as residents of the area ran in different directions for safety, causing serious confusion within the neighbourhood.

Narrating how he discovered the kit bag, the former council boss said he found the bag around 6am after returning from the morning prayers.

“Immediately I saw it, I woke up my family from sleep so that they can leave the house. I also asked my family not to go close to it. From there, I went straight to Unguwar Sanusi Police station to notify them,” he said.

However, the spokesman of the state Police Command, Aminu Lawan, said the kit bag contained sachet water, electricity bills and other paper documents which were taken away by the police anti-bomb experts for further investigation.

And instead of defusing the bombs, it was the news that the ‘suspect’ was a mere hapless bag of “pure water” that now defused tension. And a heavy sigh of relief was breathed into the neighbourhood again. But for how long? And how re-assuring is this relief?
And if the Kaduna people were spared of the Boko Haram scourge, not so for Mandawari police division in Kano which was attacked by Boko Haram.
The gunmen, who were riding on motorcycles, attacked the police station but the policemen repelled the attack.
Kano State Police Command in a press statement explained that a group of armed men who were on motorcycles joined others who dropped from a Lite Hiace bus, advanced on foot and attacked the Mandawari police division.
According to the police, the policemen on duty who were on alert successfully repelled the attack and pursued the hoodlums to the neighbourhood with a view to making an arrest, but no causality was recorded and investigation is also on progress.

Meanwhile, in another attack at Tarauni, the Boko Haram attackers were not so lucky as one of the assailants was disarmed, and shot dead. The state police command in an unsigned statement with reference number CZ: 5700/KS/PRD/VOL.5/76 stated that on Sunday at about 900 pm, two armed men on motorcycles attacked a police officer’s residence located at an area of Tarauni Local Government of the state.

The attackers, who came on a Jinchen motorcycle, had a riffle with 21 rounds of live ammunition. The policeman used his own rifle to kill him. Investigation has commenced over the incident.
At Mandawari quarters, residents of the area were left panicking, fearing that soldiers might raid the neighbourhood in search of the suspects. Many of the residents fled the area and those left in the area remained indoors.
The attack on the Mandawari police station was the third time since the eruption of the insecurity in the state on January 20 during the multiple bomb blast that killed 185 people.

Meanwhile, ACF in a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Mr. Anthony Sani, called on Nigerians to put aside ethnic and religious cleavages and join forces in fighting against the Boko Haram malaise.

“The Forum is seriously disheartened by a situation whereby innocent young men are indoctrinated to kill themselves and other innocent persons.
“The ACF and Northern leaders reiterate that all Nigerians of all religions, all the regions and of all ethnic extractions must stand up and deny the common enemy the pleasure of knocking our heads and unleashing religious conflict—which will do no one any good. Standing up to terrorists requires patriotic courage, some measure of risk and sacrifice.

“If Nigerians fail to realise that the problem of insecurity across the nation is a collective responsibility aimed at checkmating the attackers, we would be helping them to succeed in their aspirations to destroy the country,” the statement said.


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