UN: Thousands flee after ISWAP terrorist raid in N/East Nigeria, killing 8

UN: Thousands flee after ISWAP terrorist raid in N/East Nigeria, killing 8
Charles Nwoke, North-East, Nigeria
April 18, 2021 

No fewer than eight persons were reportedly killed when ISWAP terrorist group attacked a northeastern part of Nigerian town, prompting 8,000 to flee their homes across the border into Niger, the United Nations said on Thursday.

According to military sources and residents of the area, jihadists from the Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) ambushed Damasak in Borno state on Wednesday, making it the fourth onslaught on the town since Saturday.

The UN refugee agency stated that eight individuals were killed and another 12 injured, with preliminary reports showing that about 8,000 people had reached the Niger towns of Chetimari and Gagamari running for their safety.

The statement said, “According to preliminary reports from our partners on the ground, the armed men also burned down several buildings, including a police station, a clinic, residences of local dignitaries and UNHCR’s Protection Desk.”

It further revealed that the full scale of displacement was still not clear until when they will get proper statistics.

Nigeria’s military forces have fought for more than a decade to end insurgency in the northeast which has as well spilled over into neighboring Chad and the Niger Republic.

At least 36,000 persons have been killed and two million people have been displaced only in Nigeria.

Many residents had already fled Damasak towards the Borno State capital, Maiduguri, or into the town of Diffa across the Niger border following three previous attacks, while other residents chose to stay behind.

On Wednesday, remaining residents in the town ran across the border when terrorists in a great number of trucks fitted with machine guns engaged Nigerian military troops outside their base in an attempt to sack them and assume control, said military sources.

In video clips sent to AFP by sources, hundreds of residents are seen on foot and on donkeys moving along a bush path, laden with personal belongings, as they fled from Damasak.

We had earlier reported to you that the extremists attacked the town on Saturday and Tuesday, destroying humanitarian facilities and killing at least four people, including an army officer.

We also reported to you on how the terrorist group swooped Damasak, late Tuesday, burning a divisional police station after a frustrating attempt to attack the military camp.

Damasak has repeatedly been targeted by ISWAP insurgents who have sought to invade the military outpost outside the town.

ISWAP, which split from the jihadist group Boko Haram in 2016, has become a dominant threat in Nigeria, attacking military forces and camps, while killing and kidnapping innocent civilians.