It was a terror-filled Christmas in parts of the country on Friday after Boko Haram killed at least 17 people and set two churches ablaze in two separate attacks in Borno and Adamawa states, while yet to be identified gunmen also unleashed mayhem in Osun and Bayelsa states.
Boko Haram hoodlums struck on Thursday evening at Pemi, a predominantly Christian community in Borno State.
It was gathered that the terrorists came from nearby Sambisa forest in trucks and motorcycles, shooting indiscriminately.
They set ablaze two churches in the village, killed at least 11 people and abducted a priest.
They also looted food items that were to be distributed to residents to celebrate Christmas.
Also looted by them were medical supplies from a dispensary.
The building was similarly set ablaze.
Many residents fled into the bush during the attack.
There were fears that the death toll could rise as some people were still unaccounted for.
A resident said the Christmas Eve attack was the second in a year.
”These people have kept attacking us without any cause.
“You could recall that last year the same thing happened.
“They target people when we are cooking and that is when they would come to kill, destroying and stealing all our Christmas foods. It is frustrating,” he lamented.
Top security source confirmed the incidents, but claimed six persons were killed, not seven.
Pemi is only 20 kilometres from Chibok where the terror sect kidnapped more than 200 schoolgirls six years ago.
Six feared killed in Adamawa attack
The terror sect also struck at Garkida in Gombi Local Government Area of Adamawa State almost at the same time as that of Pemi.
Six people were feared killed in the attack.
One of the victims was said to be a policeman who was in town on a visit to his family.
The insurgents were said to have arrived the town in several gun trucks and launched the attack that lasted for several hours.
They were said to have burnt dozens of equipment and 19 vehicles belonging to a construction firm.
They reportedly went away with three persons while many other residents fled to the mountains to save their lives.
Residents said they had recovered five corpses.
Some of the survivors were shocked that the attack lasted for several hours despite military presence in the town.
However, Governor Ahmadu Fintiri confirmed two deaths during the attack.
One of the victims was said to be a five-year-old kid.
Fintiri, in a statement through his Press Secretary, Humwashi Wonosikou, condemned the attack which he described as cowardly attack and a desperate rear guard action by Boko Haram.
“Let me reassure Adamawa residents that this latest cowardly attack on Garkida would not go without severe consequences,” he said.
Fintiri sympathised with residents of Garkida over the attack and asked security agencies to do more to prevent similar attacks.
He added: “This is a cruel reminder of the indiscriminate aims of the terrorists and an example of why everyone must be involved to confront a menace without boundaries.
“I stand with Garkida community in this difficult time, and will continue to support the military’s efforts to ensure peace, security and justice for the people.”
It was the second Boko Haram attack on Garkida in the year.
The Department of State Services (DSS) had warned on Tuesday about planned attacks.
It asked Nigerians “to be extra vigilant and report strange movements,” although it said it was “collaborating with other sister agencies to ensure that adequate measures were put in place for protection of lives and property.”
President Muhammadu Buhari said on Thursday that his administration remained unyielding in confronting the Boko Haram insurgency as well as other forms of criminality.
“For me, providing security for all residents in the country remains an article of faith,” Buhari said in his Christmas message.
Bandits kidnap five in Niger attack
Also on Christmas Eve, bandits attacked six communities in Gurumana district in Shiroro Local Government Area of Niger State, abducting five people.
Attacked were Sundna, Guto, Gbaja, Fiyi, Kuchiwyi and Rongo.
One person each was kidnapped from Fiyi and Kuchiwyi while four were kidnapped in Rongo, although one of the four was later released.
The Nation gathered that the bandits stormed the communities on motorcycles in large numbers at midnight, shooting sporadically.
Many residents were injured while trying to run for their lives.
The bandits destroyed rice, beans, guinea corn and maize.
Efforts made to get the police to comment on the incident were fruitless as calls and messages went unanswered.
Gunmen attack ex-militant, Ogunbos, burn house
A similar act of terror was visited on ex-militant leader in the Niger Delta, Eris Paul alias Ogunbos on Friday by yet to be identified gunmen.
The hoodlums stormed Ogunbos’ country home at Peremabiri in the Southern Ijaw Local Government Area of Bayelsa State early yesterday, shooting indiscriminately before setting the house on fire.
They had gone to the community in speed boats.
Ogunbos was not in the house at the time of the attack as he was attending a burial in the community.
Gunmen invade Osun community, kill one, loot shops
Armed hoodlums also invaded Sabo in Osogbo on Friday and launched an attack that claimed one life.
The confusion sparked by the invasion led to looting of shops in the area.
It was gathered that the first sign of trouble came on Thursday night after the hoodlums went to the area under the guise of holding a candle light procession for one of their late members.
During the Thursday procession, the hoodlums resorted to harassing and threatening motorists and pedestrians to clear off the road.
Some people, especially traders, resisted the hoodlums.
The hoodlums did not take kindly to this and started attacking the traders, killing one person in the process.
They returned to the area yesterday morning claiming that the traders disrupted their Thursday candle light procession, and launched a fresh attack.
Some business operators had to hurriedly shut their shops.
The Special Adviser to the Governor on Security, Mrs Abiodun Ige, confirmed the incident, noting that police and other security agencies had been mobilised to the area and peace had been restored to the area.