|Residents of Jakana and Mainok towns of Borno state, located along Maiduguri-Damaturu road, linking Jos-Kano-Kaduna-Abuja, have alerted security agencies in Maiduguri of the quit notice served on them by the Boko Haram insurgents to vacate the towns or get killed.|
Multiple sources in Jakana, told our correspondent in Maiduguri on Tuesday night that the terrorists quietly sneaked into the town, and dropped some letters asking them to vacate their community or face attack, beginning from today (Wednesday).
Consequent upon this, Blueprint gathered that the development led to the closure of the road since Tuesday night up till 2.00pm Wednesday.
As at the time of filing in this report, however, the road has been reopened to motorists and other road users from Potiskum axis to Maiduguri, spanning over 250 kilometers.
Early Wednesday, two NAF fighter jets, as well as some military and police vehicles were on surveillance and patrol respectively, up till 1.00 pm when the road was opened to motorists.
A resident petty trader in Jakana, Hashimu Mai Table said, “this may not be unconnected with the Auno attack.
Because after the attack at Auno, the Boko Haram insurgents sent a letter to us in Jakana on Tuesday night, asking us (residents) to vacate the town, latest by Wednesday (today).
“It was further gathered that following the development, a combined team of security agents conducted house-to-house search in both Jakana and adjoining Mainok town of Kaga local government area of the state.
Corroborating Mai Table’s position, a commercial driver and member of the National Union of Road Transport Workers, Ali Adamu Gashua said, “we have been stranded since morning because of the message from Boko Haram to both Jakana and Mainok residents.
“We saw security vehicles passing through the road since early morning, and up till now, they are not back. We also heard that all the roads were blocked by security forces.
“Nobody goes out and nobody comes into Maiduguri through the Potiskum Damaturu road. We cannot ply the road. We were blocked at Njimtilo military check point as the highway was shut by the military.
“We are working based on information we got from the intelligence. The operation is to save lives. It is in the interest of the people, particularly, the motorists. So, until we are through with our operation, the restriction order placed on vehicles will not be lifted,” explained top security sources.
Visits to Borno Express and Njimtilo Parks, as well as Legacy Garden on Wesdnesday, revealed that hundreds of passengers and motorists were stranded.
Road not closed, says military
However, spokesman of Operation Lafiya Dole, Theater Command Headquarters, Colonel Onyema Nwachukwu, said in a statement on Wesnesday that, Army did not close any road, but was only carrying out a clearance and snap checks operations in the general area to clear suspected Boko Haram terrorists along that road.
“Our attention has been drawn to rumours that the Nigerian Army has closed Maiduguri-Damaturu road. This is not true.“What is happening is an ongoing clearance and snap checks operations in the general area required to clear suspected Boko Haram terrorists along that road.
“The clearance operation is ultimately for the safety and security of motorists and other road users.”
The statement, however, advised members of the public to cooperate and bear with the troops as they carry out these duties.
Terrorists’ gun trucks destroyed
Meanwhile, the NAF Air Task Force of the Operation Lafiya Dole has destroyed some terrorists’ gun trucks in air strikes conducted at Auno in Borno state.
The attacks were executed whilst providing close air support for ground troops who were responding to an attack on their location.
NAF spokesperson, Air Commodore Ibikunle Daramola, in a statement on Wednesday, said the ATF scrambled a Nigerian Air Force (NAF) Alpha Jet and an Mi-35M Helicopter Gunship, supported by an Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) aircraft, to locate and engage the group of terrorists’ gun trucks.
“Overhead the target area, the ground troops were seen engaging the terrorists, who were in a convoy of gun trucks, in a fierce gun battle.
“After de-confliction, the Alpha Jet and Mi-35M took turns in engaging theterrorists, causing them to beat an immediate retreat. In the process, 3 gun trucks were hit and destroyed while several of their fighters were neutralized.
“The hail of fire from exploding munitions in one of gun trucks was visibly seen. Some of the survivors, who were seen attempting to flee the location, were taken out in follow-on attacks.”