Community leaders in Madagali and Michika Local Government Areas of Adamawa State have alleged plans to stop them from voting at home by the recent resurgence of Boko Haram activities in their area, saying “those behind the plans to rig are the actual Boko Haram”.
Boko Haram struck on Monday in Kirshinga and Shuwa towns in a bid to recapture territories they once occupied, spanning seven local governments from Madagali to Gombi.
In July 2014, Boko Haram occupied Madagali, Michika, Mubi North and South, Maiha, Hong and Gombi local government areas for several months before troops dislodged them in December of that year.
This latest attack, which started in Kirahinga and Shuwa, sparked fear, prompting residents of neighboring Michika and Bazza towns to evacuate in order to safeguard their lives.
But the Nigerian Army, with the support of local vigilante groups, were able to limit the attack in Shuwa, forcing the insurgents to make a u-turn to their Sambisa enclave. SaharaReporters can report that despite the presence of heavily-armed troops in Kirshinga, Shuwa, Madagali, Michika and Bazza towns, residents of the area are still on the run.
Our Correspondent just back from Shuwa observed that Kirshinga village has been sacked, just as very few people were sighted in Shuwa town.
Nonetheless, few community leaders in the two local governments have bonded to stay home throughout the election period.
Suleiman Duhu, Administrator of Shuwa Development Area, told SaharaReporters in local parlance thus: “This whole area was evacuated Monday night, but we’re back and we’ll vote at home.
“We understand that some people are behind these shenanigans; their plan is to create insecurity around this area so as to compel INEC to move the election to Yola, so they can rig again.
“Those behind the plans to rig are the actual Boko Haram! But, I bet you, make no mistake, we’re resolute, we’ll resist them. They cannot defeat us because God is on our side.”
Duhu, who is also the immediate past Chief Security Adviser to Madagali Local Council Chairman, further said: “Even today (Tuesday), the insurgents have attempted to launch another attack here in Shuwa, but they were resisted by the Army with the support of our local hunters.”
Kashim Gaidam, Resident Electoral Commissioner of INEC in Adamawa State, had announced in the penultimate week that “due to security advice, elections in Madagali local government area will be centralized and conducted in only three wards: Madagali, Gulak and Shuwa”.
On the death toll, our correspondent gathered that the insurgents actually killed four people — two in Kirshinga, and one each in Shuwa and Shuwari villages — in the Monday evening rampage.
However, the Army had said that “before the arrival of troops to the location, the insurgents had killed three persons, looted and torched a shop, a healthcare centre and a local market”.
According to a local vigilante member in Shuwa, the terrorists, who drove in a convoy of Toyota Hilux vans, struck Shuwa town at about 6:30pm local time on Monday, after overrunning Kirshinga.
As things stand, heavy military hardware, including gigantic two armoured personnel carriers, were sighted in Shuwa, just as troops in large numbers were patrolling the area to fend off Boko Haram insurgents.
Still, the mass exodus of people from the two local governments is evident. Also in all the towns, business activities have temporarily shut down, as all shops in Michika, Bazza and Shuwa towns were under lock and key.