Auno massacre: We regret returning Buhari to power — Borno residents in tears

  • You’ve disappointed us, we don’t want you
  • Those responsible for this negligence must pay for it
  • Our heart bleeds, this is national embarrassment
  • Gov Zulum furious, says attack could have been prevented

This occurred after the motorists conveying hundreds of passengers and goods worth billions of naira were prevented entry to the city at the final military checkpoint for failing to meet the 5pm stipulated time set by security operatives.

This is even as another latest Boko Haram attack took place on Monday night in Tungushe village which is located along Maiduguri-Monguno road. Another attack took place on Jiddari Polo general area of the metropolis on Wednesday evening few hours after President Muhammadu Buhari paid sympathy visit to the state.

Fortunately, this time, troops were able to repel the attacks with casualties from the side of the terrorists alone.

Auno, located along Maiduguri-Damaturu road, is about 7 kilometers away from Maiduguri, the Borno state capital and 5 kilometers away to the newly established Borno State University campus.

It will be recalled that on Sunday, all motorists with passengers who were denied entry into Maiduguri because they arrived the city gate after 5pm had to pass the night in Auno village Unfortunately, that night became a nightmare for them as terrorists suspected to have come from ALAGARNO axis of Sambisa Forest descended on them.

The attack which started at about 9:50pm without any challenge, according to a member of the Vigilante, Yusuf Isa Kazalma, has left over 40 people dead whose corpses were recovered in the bush on clearance operations the following day.

Governor Babagana Umara Zulum had early Monday morning paid sympathy visit to the scene and discovered that about 30 people lost their lives with 18 vehicles, shops and residential houses set ablaze. The Theatre Commander, Major Gen Olusegun Adenyi however disputed the figure and put the death toll to 10 at a press briefing on Monday.

Resident’s reactions

 We regret returning this govt to power—Dr Usman

A University Don, Dr Musa Usman,who took to his Facebook page, said what happened in Auno and other places was total negligence. He said, “it pains every Nigerian that a government that promised to secure the nation has failed to do so. There are so many questions begging for answers as regards this insurgency. The Maiduguri-Damaturu highway is not a meandering slope with sharp turns. It is a straight road with open spaces. At this time of the year, the area lacks any iota of vegetation. The road is not on the path of a thick forest. And the road, if I am not wrong, is less than two hours drive.

“If the federal government cannot secure this little stretch of the road, then we are in a big quagmire. It is sad that security forces cannot comb the areas around the road for the insurgents. Despite huge resources, the military cannot develop a mechanism to check the antics of the insurgents. What pains us the most is the fact that nobody is going to be held responsible. And the situation is the same across the country, killings everywhere! If there is a conspiracy to thwart the gains of the Buhari government, as some diehards will say, what is the government doing to unravel the conspiracy?

“The buck stops on the table of the government! We deeply regret returning this government to power. As it stands now, as it has always been, we will lick our wounds, tend to our injured and bury our dead. But God is watching! All those with hands in this calamity will pay for their sins.

All those whose irresponsibility keeps this circle of violence going will equally answer for their inactions”, he lamented. Sources said contrary to claims by the theatre Commander that the insurgents came in motorcycles and dropped them near the surrounding bush before launching the deadly attacks, the insurgents came with six gun trucks for the first attack.

Later on, according to sources “18 trucks loaded with armed insurgents joined the first team as reinforcement and wrecked havoc. A woman was raped and her new born baby’s head was crushed as both of them were later consumed in the fire.

Nigeria Union of Journalists NUJ, Borno State Council also condemned that attack while commending the country’s armed forces for sustaining the fight against the insurgency.

The Union however tasked the security agencies to do more and protect travellers along major highways to the state capital. Buhari visits, commends military, sympathizes with victims’ families In his condolence visit to the state last Wednesday, President Muhammadu Buhari commended the troops and other security agencies in the fight against Boko Haram and other criminal elements insisting that unless stakeholders and communities continued to give information on hideouts of terrorists and desist from collaborating with which criminal elements, government alone could not end Boko Haram atrocities.

Some residents mostly youths however took to the streets, disguised as supporters and booed the presidential convoy while driving in and out of the city, saying in Hausa language, “Bama So” “Ka samu a kunya”, Meaning “We don’t want you, because you have disappointed us”.

Surprisingly, during the 2015 and 2019 general elections, Borno people gave President Buhari his highest votes. In the last presidential election for instance, Buhari had his widest margin of victory in Borno state where he polled 836,496 votes out of 955,205 votes which were cast constituting a margin of over 85%.

Attack could have been avoided—Gov Zulum

“We have to be brutal in telling the truth. I am pushed to the wall to say the truth. Since I was inaugurated as governor of Borno state, Boko Haram has attacked Auno six times. Another thing is that the military has withdrawn from Auno town. I am not undermining the capacity of the military but we have made repeated appeals for the military to establish their unit in Auno. They are here but as soon as it is 5 pm, they close the gate and lock the people and go back to Maiduguri.”

Military must compensate victims’ families —— Kaka Bolori

In his reactions, former chairman of Maiduguri Metropolitan Council (MMC), Kaka Bolori, said the military authorities must compensate families of those killed by Boko Haram terrorists at Auno village on Sunday night. Bolori said on his social media platform that “there was no justification for the military to block the Damaturu-Maiduguri road, denying commuters passage and leaving them vulnerable to attack at night without any help from anywhere. It is unthinkable for the soldiers to ask hundreds of people to sleep over at Auno when everyone knows that, that place is not safe. More widows and orphans have been created on that day.

This sad event has further increased the humanitarian challenges our people are facing. The commanders that gave the directive for the travellers to be held hostage must be brought to book. In addition, the military must compensate families of the victims killed, they must shoulder the bills of those injured and those who lost their valuables must also be fully compensated as soon as possible. There is no wisdom in blocking highways and subjecting commuters to all kinds of dangers”.

More than 30 people including a baby and its mother, a female student of University of Maiduguri Miss Fatima among others were killed by the assailants. Some of the victims were burnt beyond recognition by the attackers.

Also condemning the massacre, the Deputy Speaker, Borno State House of Assembly and member Representing Askira/Uba Constituency, Rt Hon Engr Abdullahi Musa Askira described the incident as inhuman and crime against humanity. “I condemn in the strongest terms, the barbaric, heinous and gruesome acts on commuters, drivers and passersby in Auno.

I am devastated and shocked on how innocent persons were brutally murdered in such a way that they were burned with their property” The lawmaker then called on the Federal Governments to redouble efforts at ending the insurgency in the North-East and other security threats in other parts of the country.

What Zulum told Buhari

Governor Zulum who looked disturbed before the President said “we must take the fight to the enclaves of the insurgents,to the fringes of Lake Chad, to Sambisa Game Reserve and some notable areas.

Secondly, we also want the Nigerian military to foster greater unity between themselves and the civilian authorities with the view to closing the existing trust deficit between the Nigerian military and the civil authorities on ground. We are also calling upon the Federal Government as well as the Nigerian military to open vista of opportunities to our internally displaced persons, IDPs, and our host communities to have access to their farmlands, access to their livestock farming and aquaculture farming which is their means of livelihood”.