They [Boko Haram members] were chanting: “Munkama garinsu gabadaya” which means we have taken over the town completely.

This testimony by one of the residents of Gudumbali in Guzamala Local Government Area of Borno State reinforces earlier reports that Boko Haram actually took over the community even though they were chased out. 

In the heat of the battle between troops of the Nigerian Army and Boko Haram, residents of the community ran for their lives to neighbouring communities are sharing their 'near-death' ordeal of the weekend.

Some who fled to Maiduguri, the capital of the state, said scores of insurgents in gun trucks and various calibre of arms, came into their community and attacked a military base and that battle lasted for about 12 hours.

They expressed different feelings over the incident.

'We Are Not Safe' 

Bintu Bukar, 33 and a mother of 3, said the insurgents held them hostages for several hours and continued shooting throughout the period.

“I cannot describe the type of shock I went through.

"I was waiting to hear them brake into our home and kill us. They were chanting Allahu Akbar amidst sporadic shootings from a very close range.

“We all got down on the floor for fear of stray bullets. They continued shooting until around 3 a.m.

"That was when we escaped and started running. I held my 3 children very close because it was dark at that time. I also found 5 other children belonging to my neighbour who fled away and held them close.

“We trekked more than 20 kilometres where some vehicle conveying other Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) assisted us to Gajiram. It was from there that we came here in Maiduguri.

Also Read: Troops Chase Boko Haram Away After Battle For Gudumbali

"I am yet to hear from my husband up till now. I am still in shock. I never want to go back to Gajiram. We are not safe," she said.

While others ran with their children, Modu Bukar, had two aged grand-parents to look after and he decided to stay put. 

Bukar said that when he realised the criminals were not targeting civilians, he decided to lock himself with his parents with a padlock so they would not come into the home.

“They left the town after several hours. They were chanting “Munkama garinsu gabadaya” which means we have taken over the town completely.

The rains of bullet suddenly stopped but we were advised to remain in the house. At that time we knew that the military had also left the place because they fought nonstop for almost 12 hours.

“On Saturday, they came back to the town again and started shooting. At that time I assumed that they came after civilians.

"So I left my parents and ran away. I trekked a distance of 7 kilometres through the plantation and found my self in Gajiram where I took a transport and returned to Maiduguri this evening.

Demand For Food, Others

Ahmed Usman, another victim who expressed the same sentiment said that most of the soldiers were not on ground when the sounds of shootings stopped.

"The brigade commander had visited the town with additional troops but the people were still in the fear of the unknown.

"We have been there for almost three months. I am willing to go back if the military can provide additional forces to protect us.

"Many of our people are farmers and they have invested a lot in this year’s farming in the area. But we have no choice than to wait until total peace is restored.

"We are here as elders of the community to make preparation to return our people to Bakkassi IDPs camp.

"We have contacted our secretary of local government and we fixed a date for Monday so that those who escaped and are still on the way could arrive Maiduguri and join other IDPs.

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"We therefore urge the government to make the neccessary preparations for food, shelter and even clothing, as we ran out of the town with nothing and many may not be willing to go back to the town again," he said.

The spokesman for the Nigerian Army, Brigadier General Texas Chukwu, had earlier disclosed in Maiduguri that combined troops of 82 Division Task Force Brigade and 158 Task Force Battalion conducting Counter Insurgency Operations in North Eastern Nigeria, had encountered the insurgents in Gudumbali but successfully repelled the attack.

"The encounter took place when the insurgents attacked the community, set some buildings ablaze and quickly withdrew from the community. However, no human casualty was  recorded in the encounter."

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The Chief of Defence Staff, Gabriel Olonisakin; Chief of Army Staff, Tukur Buratai; Chief of Air Staff, Sadique Abubakar, and other principal military officers met with the Theatre Commander of Operation Lafiya Dole, Major-General Abba Dikko, at the Military Control and Command Centre in Maiduguri over the attack.

The outcome of the meeting was not made public, as the military chief declined to comment on the incident.

But sources close to the Army Chiefs said they were briefed on the various ongoing operations, adding that they were deeply concerned over the increasing spate of attack in the northeast.

The News Agency of Nigeria reported that the meeting reviewed the operations and re-strategised for onslaught against Boko Haram terrorists, especially in Borno North and the Lake Chad region.

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