The Borno State governor, Babagana Zulum, has blamed Nigerian soldiers for the Sunday night attack by Boko Haram that killed over 30 stranded travellers.
Governor Zulum spoke during a visit to the scene where Boko Haram gunmen had attacked and massacred many travellers that were stranded outside the military entrance city gate outside Maiduguri which is usually locked at 6p.m.
“I am being pushed to the wall to say the truth, since my inauguration as the governor of Borno State from May 29th to date, Auno town has been attacked for about six times now. And the reason is that the military has withdrawn from Auno town.
“We have made repeated plea to the military to re-establish a base in Auno since it is one of the flashpoints of the Boko Haram, but nothing has been done to that effect,” the governor said in anger.
Thirty persons were killed in a deadly attack on Auno on Sunday night, a village 25 kilometers away from the main town of Maiduguri, the state capital.
A troop’s commander who was with the governor during his visit to the scene of the attacked tried to argue that soldiers were on ground in Auno, but the governor rebuffed him saying, “no, you were not here.”
“Please we are not here to fight or argue; the fact is that nobody was here,” the governor insisted.
“There were no soldiers here; they have all withdrawn. We are not being confrontational or undermining the capacity of the Nigerian military, but the fact is that we have made several attempts for the Nigeria military to establish their unit in Auno but nothing was done.
“As soon as it is 5 o’clock and they closed up their gate, they abandon the people and move over to Maiduguri. You have to tell us if you are willing to establish your unit in Auno or not.
“If you are not willing to ask your soldiers to relocate and establish their unit in Auno so that the people here can return and live their normal lives, you can tell us, so that we can know what to do as government,” he said.
The governor confirmed that many lives were lost in the attack.
“Look at it, for God’s sake, more than 30 lives were lost here in Auno,” he said.
Addressing the military commander, the governor said, “if you doubt what I am saying, can you count them by yourself?”
The governor said the Auno attack was forewarned.
“Information was circulated and we got a security report from DSS that Jakana can be attacked, and they came and attacked as predicted, ” he said.
“This is sad because the Borno State University is not more than 8km from here; which means this is an attack on Maiduguri town. So if you cannot protect Maiduguri, then what happens to the rest of us in the city?