Charles Nwoke, Maiduguri, Nigeria
January 4, 2021
Image courtesy of local sources, fair use.
Armed men suspected to be Boko Haram terrorists on Saturday abducted United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) employee, Abubakar Idris, and the Secretary-General of National Union of Yobe State Students, Mua’zu Bawa, along Maiduguri/Damaturu road in Borno state.
The victims were on their way returning to Maiduguri from Damaturu when they ran into a roadblock mounted by terrorists.
On December 18, 2020, no fewer than 35 persons had earlier been kidnapped along the same road.
The victim, Idris is a Senior Protection Assistant (SPA) with UNHCR, before his kidnapping along with the students union leader in Yobe.
Civilian JTF sources yesterday in Maiduguri said that the abduction occurred around 8:30 in the morning, at the Matari community between Jakana and Auno.
A Civilian JTF member, said, “The bandits in military uniform attacked our commuters along this road, before setting up their roadblock with three Hilux vans and motorcycles on roadsides.”
Narrating how they were kidnapped, Hamidu Isa, a vigilante member for the Jakana/Mainok area, explained, “While the bandits were searching the passengers, Idris attempted to throw away his identity card; but one of the insurgents sighted him.
“He was then asked to alight from the vehicle along with two other passengers, while the rest of passengers were asked to continue with their journey to Maiduguri. The other two passengers were later released because they are poor and would not be useful in Sambisa Forest.”
It was gathered that the invasion and abductions had been happening, despite the military presence, crack squad, police, civilian JTF, and hunters on the 132km Expressway.
The source, Isa, revealed that most of the attacks, last year, occurred along the 40km Maiduguri/Jakana Highway.
He also stated that the criminals took advantage of troops’ absence and mounted the roadblock at an unusual location in Mainok, instead of the Garin Kuturu crossing point to Lake Chad region and Sambisa Forest.
The road is in a deplorable state, as China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC) could not complete the 593km Kano/Maiduguri dual carriageway, which was awarded to three contractors in 2005 by the former President Olusegun Obasanjo.
In April 2018, robbers torched eight heavy-duty construction equipment and bulldozers near Jakana.
Also kidnapped on the same road includes Emmanuel Peter, a humanitarian aid worker with the World Food Programme (WFP), on December 14, 2020.
Babagana Zulum, Borno State Governor, recently accused the army and police of not securing the road for motorists and road users, alleging that, instead, some of the troops were busy extorting motorists at various checkpoints mounted on the area.