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I lost 5 family members in Gwoza attacks – Relative

Relatives of victims of suicide bombings in Gwoza Local Government Area of Borno State have narrated harrowing experiences of how they lost their loved ones…

Relatives of victims of suicide bombings in Gwoza Local Government Area of Borno State have narrated harrowing experiences of how they lost their loved ones on Saturday.

Many people, including a soldier, and some wedding guests were killed, and several others injured when four suicide bombers launched attacks at different spots in Gwoza and Pulka towns, all in Gwoza LGA.

The Director General of the State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA), Dr Barkindo M. Saidu, shortly after the incidents, said 18 persons comprising children, adult male, females, and pregnant women died, while 19 others who were seriously injured were conveyed to Maiduguri in four ambulances.

Gwoza, located in the fringes of the Sambisa Forest and the Mandara Mountains, which serves as sanctuaries for Boko Haram fighters, had suffered devastating attacks in the nearly fifteen years of the insurgency.

Hundreds of people have been killed, many injured and houses, markets, hospitals, police stations and other symbols of authority destroyed.

Incidents of suicide bombing have not been reported for a long time, until Saturday’s resurgence.

Meanwhile, our correspondent yesterday visited the state specialist hospital in Maiduguri where the wounded are currently receiving treatment.

He said the atmosphere at the hospital was tense as relatives who besieged the facility to see the wounded shared their disturbing experiences.

A resident of Gwoza, Buba Shehu, who lost five of his family members, said the incident happened so fast that the whole scenario seemed as if it was a movie.

“This is just like a dream; I have lost five people in my family in less than 24 hours. Three died yesterday (Saturday) as a result of the dastardly act by suicide bomber during wedding reception at our family house in Gwoza.

“We also received a call this (Sunday) morning that two people passed away due to lack of blood in their bodies. So, personally, I lost three family members and two of my good friends. This is painful,” he said.

Shehu added: “Many of our friends left Maiduguri to attend the wedding in Gwoza. Unfortunately, seven are currently receiving treatment in this hospital. As at last night, we lost 20 persons and 30 others wounded.

“But this (Sunday) morning, we lost one person in Maiduguri and two of our relatives died in Gwoza in the early hours.”

Another relative of the victims, Abdul Umaru, also said he lost two persons while two others who were critically wounded were currently battling with their lives.

“I wanted to travel for the wedding but there was a challenge of logistics and I was furious with myself for missing the wedding ceremony in our family house.

“Only for me to hear that there was suicide attack during reception. Two of my uncles lost their lives. Two of my elder brothers are currently undergoing a series of treatments due to wounds they suffered from the attacks. We are broken and you can see hundreds of people in this place. It is sad, you see someone and next day, you hear that some useless people have killed him,” he said.

In the meanwhile, the Secretary of Gwoza LGA, Hajiya Fatimah Musa, has said three suspected suicide bombers have been arrested in Gwoza and Pulka, following the imposition of curfew by the military on the troubled town.

She noted that the actions of the military would restore peace in the areas, while urging the residents to support and report any suspicious activities within their general areas to the security agencies.

She said so far, casualties ascertained included 21 deaths comprising women and children, and 48 people who were seriously injured.

“We lost one person among those who were taken to Maiduguri yesterday (Saturday). We also got a report that two people died yesterday. They have been buried according to Islamic rites,” she said.

She added that a total of 42 people had been admitted, including 12 taken to Maiduguri on Saturday night and 31 others equally transported at noon on Saturday.

Tinubu, Atiku, northern govs condole with relatives

Meanwhile, President Bola Ahmed Tinubu has condemned the Saturday bomb attack in Borno State, saying those responsible will pay a heavy price for their actions.

The president, in a statement by Ajuri Ngelale, his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, condoled with the families of those affected and said his administration will not allow the country to slither into an “era of fear, tears, sorrow, and blood.”

President Tinubu said his administration was taking necessary measures to secure citizens, emphasising that efforts will be redoubled to ensure that “those who trouble the nation, dispatching precious lives, and disrupting law and order are completely removed.”

Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar has also condemned the bomb attack in Borno State, asking the federal government not to allow the North East slide back into the theater of terrorism.

Atiku in a post on his Verified Facebook page asked the present administration to live up to expectation, accusing the government of lackluster posture in holding firmly to the frontline in the gains made by security operatives.

He said it is a sad development that the “ugly incidents of terrorism are resurfacing and, indeed, metastasising in the North East.”

He also expressed condolences to the families of victims of these attacks, saying, “it is my prayer that God grants a peaceful repose to the souls of the departed.

Relatedly, the Northern States Governors’ Forum (NSGF) has expressed deep condolences to the victims, government and the people of Borno State following the recent tragic suicide attacks in Gwoza Local Government Area.

Chairman of the forum and Governor of Gombe State, Muhammadu Inuwa Yahaya, in a statement issued yesterday condemned the heinous act, which resulted in the loss of innocent lives and left many injured.

The statement issued by his spokesman, Ismaila Uba Misilli, described the attack as cowardly, and emphasised that such acts of terror have no place in a peaceful and progressive society.

Yahaya, therefore, called for collective resilience and unity among the people of northern Nigeria to stand together and remain undeterred by the acts of terror.

From Olatunji Omirin (Maiduguri), Haruna Gimba Yaya (Gombe), Saawua Terzungwe & Baba Martins (Abuja)

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