More than 24 villagers have been killed in what seems like a reprisal attack by members of the Islamist sect, Boko Haram, on, Nguro Kayayya, a community in Geidam local government of Yobe state.
Witnesses said the insurgents originally attacked residents of the community killing four people, including the village head, and burning several houses.
Unknown to the villagers, the insurgents had planted an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) in the community. The IED subsequently killed more than 20 people who were on board an improvised tricycle called JEGA. The victims were visiting the village the following day after the initial attack, on a condolence visit.
The Yobe State Police Command Public Relations Officer Dungus Abdulkarim confirmed the incident but declined to give further details.
A credible security source who spoke on condition of anonymity said the attack was a reprisal.
“In the last one week, some Boko Harams were arrested along Tarmuwa and two of them were killed and the sum of three hundred thousand naira was recovered from them and some of the vigilante operatives involved in the Tarmuwa operation come from that village.”
Aujara Idris, one of the witnesses from the village said: “The insurgents attacked the village because they refused to give taxes to the insurgents who are going about collecting taxes from farmers on their farms or at home.”
Yobe Governor, Mai Buni convened a security meeting at the government house on Wednesday to discuss a recent spike in attacks in the state.
The security adviser to the governor, Dahiru Abdulsalam, a retired Brigadier General, said the insurgents are just angry and attacking soft targets due to the recent military onslaught on them in the Mafa general area in Borno State, close to the boundary with Yobe State.
“After the Custom officer was killed, the military laid an ambush and killed several terrorists who were on their way to Geidam, apparently on a dangerous mission. In that ambush, many Boko Haram insurgents were killed and weapons recovered from them. Two days ago, a number of them were also killed in the general area. This is why they are moving about attacking soft targets in that area,” Mr Abdulsalam explained.
When asked if Boko Haram are collecting taxes and fines from villages, Abdulsalam said: “The issues of Boko Haram collecting levies and taxes from villagers is still on the level of rumours because we have not had any villager that has come out to report to security agents or government official on the matter.”
Mr Idris told our correspondent that most of the villages around south of Giedam town like Nguro Kayaya, and Jauroro have fled to the relative safety of Geidam town because of the threat posed by insurgents who are always demanding taxes from them.
“Most of our villages from the south of Geidam town which is less than 20km from Geidam town have all run to the town. Even the Nguro Kayaya that was attacked was because they came to the village and demanded taxes and the villagers refused. That is why, they came back and burnt down the entire village,” Mr Idris informed.