10 Killed in latest attack on Damasak, caravan fleeing to neighbouring communities

Ten civilians have been confirmed killed in Tuesday night’s attack on Damasak, the second within the week.

This is according to the Chairman of the local government, Mustapha Bako Kolo who said an unspecified number of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) were also injured during the attack.

On the fateful Tuesday that jihadists stormed Damasak, a divisional police station was said to have been torched after a failed attempt to raid the base, residents and military sources said.

According to sources, the terror group stormed the area, Damasak in over a dozen gun fitted trucks and could be seen heading towards the Army base where they engaged troops in a fight outside the military base in an attempt to overrun it.

This renewed assault is reported to be the fourth since Saturday as residents that stayed back were forced to flee for safety.

Although sources say fighters of the Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) met stiff resistance from the Nigerian Army who were supported by the Airforce, the encounter left many civilians injured.

The insurgents had shared a video of their weekend attack on Damasak town during which they burnt UN buildings and food storehouses.

Nigeria’s military has struggled to end a jihadist insurgency in the northeast for more than a decade, with two million people displaced from the homes by fighting.

“The locals are currently relocating to Niger Republic due to state of insecurity in the town,” said the military officer, who asked not to be identified.

Many residents had fled the town towards the state capital Maiduguri or into the town of Diffa across the Niger border following three previous attacks, but other residents decided to stay back.

“This is the situation we found ourselves again, as you can see now, we are going to take refuge in another country that is not even our own,” a resident said in a video clip sent to AFP by sources.

In the recording, hundreds of residents are seen on foot and on donkeys moving in droves along a winding bush path with personal effects.

The fleeing residents wanted to seek refuge in nearby Gamari village across the border but were told that the jihadists had warned the villagers not to host anyone from Damasak.

“The insurgents went to Gamari last night (Tuesday) and gathered the people and warned them not to accept any humanitarian aid from NGOs and not to accommodate anyone from Damasak,” said another Damasak resident.

“The only option left to us is to go to Diffa where most of our kinsmen fled to in the past two days,” the resident said.

The insurgents had attacked the town on Saturday and Tuesday, causing the destruction of humanitarian facilities and at least four deaths, including a soldier.

Damasak has repeatedly been targeted by ISWAP militants who have made several failed attempts to overrun a military outpost outside the town.

ISWAP, which split from the jihadist group Boko Haram in 2016, has become a dominant threat in Nigeria, attacking soldiers and bases while killing and kidnapping passengers at fake checkpoints.

Nigeria’s 12-year-old jihadist conflict has killed 36,000 people and forced around two million more to flee their homes to escape fighting.

 

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