While the grieving families of victims and the people of Borno State continue to mourn love ones killed in the tragic Rann terrorist attack, those who survived the onslaught by recount their harrowing experiences even as families of abducted workers plead for the quick release of those taken, FRANCIS OKOYE, reports.
Rann, a rural settlement located in Kalabalge local government area of Borno State was first on the news in January 2017 when Nigerian Air Force Fighter Jet locating Boko Haram terrorists erroneously bombed an Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) camp and killed several persons including humanitarian workers.
Even though officials said the bombing was in error, no fewer than 236 souls perished in that disaster which threw the entire country and indeed the world into mourning and blames, as many wondered how the error occurred in the first place bearing in mind that the victims were unarmed. Doctors Without Borders (MSF) providing humanitarian assistance in the Rann camp confirmed that nine aid workers from the Nigerian Red Cross and the International Committee of The Red Cross (ICRC) were among the victims of the January 2017 erroneous disaster.
A year after that incident, Rann has again made news with the recent onslaught by Boko Haram terrorists in a Military base where aid workers including a medical doctor and 10 Nigerian security operatives lost their lives alongside unidentified civilians.
Sources from the Kalabalge who spoke to LEADERSHIP on the condition of anonymity said the worst aspect of the attack was that the security operatives in the military base were caught unaware by the terrorists as most of them were alleged to have been watching football while others were playing the game when the agents of death stormed the base.
Indeed, it was gathered that apart from the aid workers and the 10 security operatives’ confirmed dead, there were lots of civilian casualties as well as soldiers and policemen that sustained serious injuries during the attack.
One of those abducted is Hauwa Mohammed, a midwife who was abducted by the terrorists alongside her fellow nurse.
Some minutes before her abduction, Hauwa had a telephone conversation with her close friend Fatima whom she intimated about the invasion of their area by the terrorists and asked her to convey to her parents, her predicament.
In her telephone conversation which has gone viral in the social media, Hauwa was heard telling her friend with whom she had the conversation, to tell her parents that she has been taken.
The most touching aspect of the telephone conversation is the echoes of heavy gunshots in the background suggesting that she made the call while the terrorists were advancing at them, because in between the conversation she said to her friend Fatima “see Boko Haram, they have already invaded us, my God ooh”. With this last statement, the conversation cut, and today the rest is the story of her abduction by the terrorists.
Also not dead but unlucky to have been abducted by the terrorists is Alice Loksha, a native of Kwarkusa in Kwarkusa local government area of Borno State and a nurse with UNICEF.
According to her brother who choose not to disclose his name for security reasons, Alice is the second child of the family.
According to him, Alice abduction has dealt a blow on the whole family as since the news of her abduction broke, the family members have been psychologically traumatised. He pleaded with the authorities concerned to intensify search towards the rescue of Alice and other abductees even as he appealed to government to intensify efforts at finally crushing the terrorists.
One other worrisome aftermath of the Rann attack is the case of a medical doctor with UNICEF, Dr Anthony Onyedikachi who paid the supreme price to the bullets of the terrorists.
The late Dr Onyedikachi is said to be the son of a famous professor of Orthopaedic Medicine who owns one of the best Orthopaedic Hospital in the south eastern part of Nigeria.
The International Committee of The Red Cross (ICRC) which is one of he agencies hit by the attack confirmed that its two midwives were among the unlucky ones abducted by the terrorists.
Weeks after the dastardly attack on Rann by the dare devil terrorists, Nigerians are waiting patiently for the outcome of the committee set up by the federal government, just as they offer endless prayers for the repose of the souls of the murdered victims and seek quick release of those abducted.
Speaking on behalf of his congregation, Pastor Allan Shettima urged Nigerians not to relent in praying for an end to the Boko Haram activities even as he asked for international support to victims of the Rann attack.
“We pray for quick release of the abductees and ask that God console victims of not just the Rann attack but all other atrocities committed by the Boko Haram. We will live to celebrate their total defeat” Shettima said.