By Michael Olugbode
Scores of people were on Friday killed in the latest attack on Damboa, southern Borno State by suspected Boko Haram insurgents.
This is as the killing of Taiwo Dokun; a Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG) pastor in an attack on Dille village, Askira-Uba local government by the Boko Haram sect has thrown the church into mourning and apprehension.
Damboa town was attacked about two weeks ago and many casualties on the part of the insurgents, civilians and security personnel were recorded. It was later deserted.
An attempt by the military to return to the town about a week ago was met with strong resistance by the insurgents who ambushed them. Soldiers who were lucky to survive the attack returned to Maiduguri.
The insurgents were said to have had a field day as there were no more security personnel watching over the town.
A member of the youth vigilante group in Maiduguri, Abbas Gavia told journalists that some of the vigilante in Damboa said the insurgents invaded the village at about 5am and began killing residents.
He claimed that only a handful of youth Vigilante group, known as Civilian-JTF and Vigilante officials were available in Damboa to protect the people as both military and other security personnel who deserted the town in the last major attack on the were yet to return.
“Since the attack, Damboa has no police or soldier. It is only the vigilantes that are there and we know their limitations. The casualty could be very high because my contacts in Damboa said they are still picking and piling the corpses, but many houses, nearly half of what remains of the several earlier attacks on the town have been burnt”, Gava said.
A senior security personnel who spoke anonymously to journalists, confirmed the attack, noting that “no details on extent of damage or casualty are yet known.”
Added to the killing of the pastor, some members of RCCG said the whereabouts of the late pastor’s wife and three children remain unknown.
“The family could have been abducted by the insurgents who took away many of the residents of the town as the family members were not found since the attack and have not called any one.
“Though their residence was completely razed by the insurgents, their corpses were not found in the debris,” one of the church members who preferred anonymity told journalists.
Speaking from Dille on Friday, Jacob Mamza narrated how the pastor was killed in the attack which claimed 45 lives. He said “the pastor was in his house at about 6am when the insurgents attacked the village, his house was surrounded by the hoodlums and while attempting to run he was shot.
“Pastor Taiwo was running to a neighbour’s house and it was in the course of his fleeing that he was shot in the head and the chest and the insurgent equally came to butcher him to make sure that he was dead.”
Mamza said the insurgents subsequently went to torch his house, adding that it was at this time that his family might have been abducted.
Some of the members of RCCG, who spoke to journalists in Maiduguri, said the late pastor might be buried in Mubi, Adamawa State as the initial plan to convey his corpse to Akure, Ondo State for burial may not work as his body had started decomposing.
Investigations revealed that his death has caused dissatisfaction and annoyance among the RCCG churches in Maiduguri as pastors who are compelled to remain in their parishes in troubled areas of the state were set for war with the Regional Pastor, Emmanuel Adegboyega Kalejaiye who oversees the activities of all parishes in the state.
Some of the pastors, who spoke to journalists, said: “The death of Pastor Taiwo was too much for us to bear; we believe this could happen to any of us especially with the insensitivity of our regional pastor to our plight.
“We are still looking for one of us who was abducted on January 6 by the insurgents and we have frequently appeal that the parishes in some of these affected local government areas of Borno be closed for now without result.
“The Deeper Life Bible Church and Living Faith Ministry have closed their parishes in the local government but all our appeal fell on deaf ears and see what is happening to our pastors. Our pastors have had to travel on these deadly road infested with Boko Haram to Maiduguri every month and it is for the grace of God that many of us are still alive today.