Borno State Governor, Babagana Zulum has blamed the Nigerian army for the Sunday night attack by Boko Haram insurgents that killed over 30 stranded travellers in Auno town, near Maiduguri.
KanyiDaily had reported that Boko Haram insurgents killed and kidnapped many travellers who were stranded outside the military entrance city gate around 9:50pm on Sunday, in Auno town, Konduga local government area of Borno state.
Villagers said the victims arrived at the military checkpoint leading into Maiduguri after the 5pm closure of the gate and had no choice but to sleep in Auno, the neighbouring village on the Maiduguri-Damaturu Highway.
Governor Zulum, who visited the scene of the incident on Monday morning, expressed disappointment with the inability of the soldiers to protect harmless civilians in the town. He said:
“I am being pushed to the wall to say the truth. Since my inauguration as the governor of Borno State from May 29th to date, Auno town has been attacked for about six times now. And the reason is that the military has withdrawn from Auno town.
“We have made a repeated plea to the military to re-establish a base in Auno since it is one of the flashpoints of the Boko Haram, but nothing has been done to that effect.”
A troop’s commander who was with the governor during his visit to the scene of the attack tried to defend the military, that soldiers were on ground in Auno, but the governor rebuffed him saying “no soldier was on the ground at the time of the attack.”
Zulum added: “Please we are not here to fight or argue; the fact is that nobody was here.
“There were no soldiers here; they have all withdrawn. We are not being confrontational or undermining the capacity of the Nigerian military, but the fact is that we have made several attempts for the Nigerian military to establish their unit in Auno but nothing was done.
“As soon as it is 5 o’clock and they closed up their gate, they abandon the people and move over to Maiduguri. You have to tell us if you are willing to establish your unit in Auno or not.
“If you are not willing to ask your soldiers to relocate and establish their unit in Auno so that the people here can return and live their normal lives, you can tell us, so that we can know what to do as a government.”
Meanwhile, KanyiDaily recalls that Governor Zulum luckily escaped death on Thursday night as Boko Haram terrorists opened fire on his convoy at Konduga while returning from a trip to Bama local government area of the state.
The attack happened around 9 pm after Governor Zulum had visited Bayo, Kwaya Kusar, Askira Uba and Gwoza as part of his “familiarity and need assessment tour” of the 27 LGAs in the state.