Boko Haram: Thousands flee Mubi, Badeh’s town sacked

Whatapp News

Boko Haram militants tightened their grip on Mubi yesterday, forcing thousands of people to flee to other parts of Adamawa State.
The insurgents marched on the state’s second-largest town on Wednesday, driving in about 14 trucks.
Mubi, a commercial hub, is home to about 151,000 people, according to the 2006 census.
Witnesses said Boko Haram fighters yesterday went round some streets, proclaiming a new government based on Islamic law. They told people to cooperate with the new regime.
The militants also engaged in killings, looting and arson. They set the main market on fire, looted banks, and occupied the palace of the Emir of Mubi.
A resident said they broke into the home of the District Head of Mubi, Alhaji Yarima Bello, and beheaded his son, Ibrahim, a judiciary staff.
Mubi market association chairman, Alhaji Abdulkadir Musa, told Daily Trust by telephone that the assailants set fire to sections of the market and looted some shops.
“The boys set ablaze shops dealing in secondhand clothes and looted others,” he said.
Musa said fleeing residents were dispossessed of their cellphone SIM cards before being allowed to leave.
“They blocked the road at Buladega, urging people not to leave, that they were not going to be attacked. They did not stop anyone from leaving, but collected peoples’ phones and removed the SIM cards,” he said.
A witness told Daily Trust that a Boko Haram militant mocked residents over their reliance on security forces for protection, saying the insurgents seized the town without much resistance.
“They have been rather boastful,” the man said by telephone from outside Mubi.
“A commander bragged that very soon they are taking Yola with the ease they captured Mubi and that government purchased weapons at high cost only for them to seize the arms.”
He said most of low-ranking insurgents he saw are teenagers.
“I just left the town, these Boko Haram boys cannot withstand a determined battalion of trained soldiers,” he said.
“Most of them are carrying AK 47. Some use rocket launchers but they do not have the type of armoured vehicles our soldiers deployed recently.”
Stranded in the bush
Scared residents have been trooping out of the town since Wednesday. Thousands trekked in different directions yesterday, fearing for their lives.
Many people have been stranded in the bush along Mubi-Maiha-Pella road, with others crossing into Cameroon through the border town of Dumo. The border is about 30 kilometres from Mubi.
“I passed by at least 6,000 people including the sick with bandages and plasters to their arms and legs, all of them trekking to Maiha, some left through Gyala,” a village chief told Daily Trust.
“Some were heading for Cameroon through Dumo; it is pathetic. Please let our leaders act.”
James Audu, a student, told Reuters news agency: “I saw many dead bodies in the bush and many injured people were lying helpless especially children and women. They killed a lecturer and his entire family. I saw them get shot (in Mubi).”
Stephen Adaji, also a student, said he had been hiding in the bush since mid-morning on Wednesday when the fighting began until a farmer helped him cross to a nearby village and he fled to the nearest city of Yola.
“We couldn’t sleep in the bush because of the fear Boko Haram may get us,” he said. “We were so scared, shooting was going on throughout the night.”
Daily Trust learnt that hundreds of soldiers who fled Mubi have converged at a town about 60 kilometers away, with dozens of vans and many armoured vehicles.
The soldiers manned check points in the area with fleeing residents complaining that the checkpoints delay them unnecessarily.
Many people who fled Mubi on Wednesday were yet to reach Yola by yesterday evening, as only those who left in their personal cars or were picked up by trucks conveying cattle made it.
Many children separated from their parents during the stampede that followed the Boko Haram attack on Wednesday.
A man at the NYSC Orientation camp in Girei said he separated from his 14-year old younger sister, his elder brother and sister in-law when an explosive narrowly missed their vehicle, forcing them to stop and ran in different directions.
“I was able to make contact with my brother who is still in the bush but none of us heard about the girl. I hope she did not run back to Mubi. My prayer is she escaped with other people to the bush,” he said.
Another displaced man, Abdullahi Alai, said he did not know the whereabouts of his two sons and wife after fleeing when Boko Haram struck.
He said he fled Mubi in his car around 6pm Wednesday and drove overnight to Yola. He said thousands of worn-out people made brief stop-overs at different villages to beg for food before resuming their trek towards the state capital.
Adamu Mohammed, who also fled to Yola yesterday, said hundreds of people trekked to Hong, over 50 kilometres away. “The entire road was covered by human beings, herding out to Hong, like a group of sheep,” he said. Our correspondent reported that the number of displaced people at the NYSC camp in Yola has surged as people from Mubi file in to register.
Executive Secretary of the state emergency agency ADSEMA, Haruna Furo, said hundreds of people were registered at the camp over the past 24 hours. The number of people at the camp stands at 6,800 as at yesterday.
A spokesman for the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) in the North-East, Abdul Ibrahim, told Reuters the agency had sent extra personnel to help manage people fleeing to Yola.
He said an attack on Uba just hours before the one on Mubi on Wednesday had forced 4,000 people who were in a displaced persons camp to vacate the camp and head for Yola.
Meanwhile, reports yesterday said the insurgents attacked Vimtim, the hometown of Chief of Defence Staff Air Chief Marshall Alex Badeh.
A former Mubi North Local Government chairman, John Kwale Vimtim, told the BBC Hausa radio: “They attacked Vimtim this morning (yesterday) and they went straight to the Chief of Defence Staff’s house. They did not kill or attack anybody in the house.
“There is nobody in the house at the time, because… all the people of Vimtim had already deserted the town” following the attack on Mubi.
Sources told Daily Trust that hundreds of fighters took over the village, located about 15 kilometres from Mubi.
Military sources said reinforcement was being sent to the state, through the Yola airport, to push back the attackers.
A local who fled Mubi yesterday said soldiers’ “withdrawal” from the area on Wednesday was a measure to give Air Force jets the freehand to engage the insurgents. (Daily Trust)

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