No fewer than 20 person were feared dead and a whole village raised down when a group of Boko Haram terrorists numbering about 50 on April 1 invaded Ngurum village in Gulani local government Area of Yobe state.
Giving a graphic picture of the pathetic incident, a prominent indigene of Ngurum, Alhaji Musa Ngurum said the incident which escaped the eagle eyes of the media happened at about seven o-clock in the morning of April 1st 2016, when the peace of the people of Ngurum, a sleepy village in Gulani Local Government Area of Yobe State was shattered as suspected Boko Haram terrorists invaded the village and killed more than 20 people.
According to him, the terrorists, who were said to number around fifty, launched their attack from a mountain close to the village where they were believed to have camped over the night.
Another eye witness said he sighted the terrorist coming down from the mountain top with various kinds of weapons while on his way to his farm and he had to make a U-turn when he realized that the attackers were heading straight to his village.
According to him: “immediately I saw them I ran back to the village to alert the people of an impending attack from the suspected terrorists”.
He said as a result of that hint, many people, mostly, the youths and adults fled to nearby bushes before the Boko Haram men arrived the village.
“But the women and children were not that lucky as they were caught by the dreaded terrorists before they could escape. Though a few of the fleeing children were spared, all those who hid in their houses were set ablaze by the invaders.
“The operation which was conducted in a commando style lasted for about one and the half hours living virtually about 250 buildings in the village completely burnt down. Also burnt were hundreds of livestock, food and vehicles.
“As at the afternoon of that day, many of the victims who sustained injuries were taken to the Damaturu General Hospital for treatment.
“Recounting their ordeal one of the villagers who was lucky to escape to a nearby bush said fifteen of the dead were mostly elderly women and children,” Ngurum noted.
According to him, “all efforts to contact the officials of Gulani Local Government for help failed as virtually all of them have relocated to Damaturu the state capital a distance of about one hundred kilometers from the village.
Almost 48hrs after the attack on the village, our source lamented that neither the officials of the council or the state Government visited the village to sympathize with the people.”
The source added that the only relief that came to them was provided by people from the neighboring villages who came to assist with the burial of the dead and some provisions for the few who managed to return to the village from their hideouts.
He further added: “On the day of the attack it was learnt that the terrorist took advantage of the non-presence of soldiers and police from the village to launch their attack.
“Though men of the Nigerian Army unit in Bara, the headquarters of the Local Government and the ones stationed in Buni Gari, arrived the scene on time to save more lives that would have been lost to the terrorist, the village had been completely razed down.
“It was learnt that in an effort to pursue the fleeing terrorists, one of their Hilux trucks hit a land mine planted by the insurgents leading to the death of a vigilante while one of the soldiers suffered severe leg injuries from the blast.”
In the meantime returnees to the village now sleep in open field since virtually all the houses have been burnt, he noted.
Eye witness accounts said that the extent of the destruction to Ngurum requires the urgent attention of the government to set up an internally Displaced Persons camp to cater for them.
“For the last one year the only accessible road from Damaturu through Biu, Buni Gari leading to Gulani has been sealed off by the military authorities due to Boko Haram activities. At the moment Ngurum village can only be accesed through a feeder road from Ngaldi in Fika LGA of Yobe state, and another feeder road from Dadin Kowa in Gombe state,” an eye witness of the incident said.
Meanwhile, the village head, Alhaji Yerima Abba, who deserted the village over a year ago for fear of Boko Haram attack is said to be taking refuge in faraway Damaturu where he ran to for safety.
Similarly other district and village heads in Gulani and Gugbau Local Government Areas have been on the run for the past one year, abandoning the people to their fates.
However the ward head of Ngurum, Bulama Modu, whose house was also burnt down in the early morning attack has remained behind helping the local vigilante to watch over the ruins of his village.
While the Ngurum villagers who survived the attack now count their losses, there is serious apprehension that the Boko Haram terrorists might come back since the entire village and what is left of its ruins now lie at the mercy of the local vigilante who have now taken the responsibility of providing security in the area