Damasak, Gudumbali attacks: Al Barnawi faction responsible, targets military, not civilians – Source

Boko Haram members, terrorists
Boko Haram members, terrorists

The Boko Haram insurgents which attacked military locations around Damasak and Gudumbali towns are believed to belong to the faction led by Al Barnawi, which had pledged allegiance to the Islamic State in West Africa or ISWA, DAILY NIGERIAN can report.

However, according to the Nigerian Army, the two areas remained calm on Thursday after a reported gun battle between the insurgents and troops.

Some residents of Gudumbali told NAN correspondent that the terrorists stormed the town at about 4 p.m. on Friday and began to extort money from market women and loot food items.

It was gathered that the troops immediately engaged the attackers, but did a tactical withdrawal before regrouping to repel them.

Zainab Wakil, a resident, explained that they came at a time when the community market which holds on every Friday was still in session.

“They (terrorists) did not attack us, but extort money from us and ordered us to stop trading. We left our wares and ran into the bush.

“We were in the bush until Saturday morning. We came out after we noticed that soldiers, who withdrew had come out to chase away the insurgents,” she said.

Mrs Wakil maintained that the Boko Haram terrorists did not attack or kill any of the villagers before they fled at about 1a. m. on Saturday.

Kachala Aliyu, another resident of Gudumbali, also told newsmen that the insurgents did not kill anybody in the town.

Mr Aliyu said that after extorting money and looted food stuff from the traders and disrupted trading in the market, they went straight to the troops’ location.

Unlike the faction led by Abubakar Shekau, the Al Barnawi faction of the Boko Haram group targets the military and its locations in its attacks, not civilians.

In the heat of the insurgency in 2014, the terrorists attacked troops in Gudumbali, where the army suffered heavy casualties, and razed the community. It was recaptured in 2015.

The army had set up a cenotaph in the community, which was inaugurated by the Chief of Army staff in July, to immortalise officers and soldiers, who paid the supreme price in the fight to liberate Gudumbali.

Residents of the town, who were displaced since 2014 began to return to the farming community in June after the army launched: “Operation Last Hold” in May.

The exercise was designed to facilitate the return of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in Borno North and Lake Chad Basin, to their ancestral homes.

Gudumbali is located at about over 250km of Northern Borno, but just 25km to Niger Republic.