No fewer than five persons, among them a 17 year-old girl, died on Thursday, while 12 others sustained various degrees of injuries when suspected Boko Haram/ISWAP terrorists fired mortar bombs on Gomari Ayafe and Ajilari Cross communities of Maiduguri, the Borno State capital just some minutes to the arrival of President Muhammadu Buhari to the State.
At least five mortar bombs were reportedly fired by the terrorists which landed and exploded on six separate houses thus resulting in the deaths and attendant destructions in the areas affected.
Speaking on the condition of anonymity to our correspondent, a resident of Gomari Ayafe, one of the areas of the explosion, where four deaths were recorded, which is about 300 meters away from the Nigerian Air Force Base and Staff Quarters in Maiduguri, said the latest attack was the second in two weeks that the terrorists would carry out in the area.
He decried the insecure nature of the capital city and wondered how the insurgents are operating from no distant location and yet remain unchecked.
Husseni Garba, a motor mechanic at Baga road area of Maiduguri and the father of the 17 year-old Fati Garba, who was mutilated by the explosion at Ajilari Cross, said he left his daughter at home for work, but few meters away from his house he heard an explosion and by the time he returned back to his house , he saw the body of his daughter dismembered by the explosion and his house destroyed.
He said: “I am a mechanic at Baga road. What has happened is the will of God. I left my house and few hours after that, I heard an explosion and on returning back I met the shattered body of my daughter.
“She is 17 year-old student in Senior Secondary School at Liberty Standard School at Gomari Ayafe. My daughter’s ambition while she was alive was to be a Nurse. Now that God has taken her, I am appealing to government to assist me in rehabilitating my destroyed house.”
Corroborating Garba, 40 year-old brother of the deceased’s mother, Shettima Hassan, said they heard a noise like an aircraft that had landed at their home not knowing that it was a mortar bomb, adding that by the time they entered the house, they discovered the shattered body of the deceased.
“Although, nothing can replace human life, we plead to the government to assist us in rebuilding the destroyed house,” Hassan reiterated.
The injured victims were taken to Umara Shehu Ultramodern Hospital while the rest of the victims who died await burial according to Islamic injunction.
When our correspondent visited the scene, mourners, majority women were seen in sober mood awaiting the funeral prayer for the deceased to led by an Imam.
It could be recalled that the last mortar bomb that was fired by the terrorists in the same area over two weeks ago resulted in the death of a teenager.
The terrorists who had been making fruitless efforts to invade Maiduguri, the capital city of Borno State due to the vigilant and gallantry efforts of the Nigerian military, the Civilian Joint Taskforce (CJTF) and other security agencies, have resorted to firing of mortar bombs and rocket launchers from distant locations with the aim of registering their presence.
However, the latest attack coincided with the visit of President Muhammadu Buhari who was in Maiduguri for the commissioning of Borno’s first flyover, other projects and a centre for distance learning built by a business mogul, Dr. Mohammed Indimi, at the University of Maiduguri.