By Esther Din (Defence/Security Correspondent)
Barely 24 hours after the reported ambush of Borno governor, Professor Babagana Zulum's convoy by the Boko Haram terrorists in Baga town on Wednesday evening, the military authorities in Abuja said on Thursday, that it has begun investigation into the circumstances surrounding the attack in which 15 people were reportedly injured.
Governor Zulum and his entourage were reported to be returning from Monguno Local Government Area of the state where he had gone to distribute welfare palliatives materials to the civilian returnee and the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in the area, when some Boko Haram insurgents got wind of his movement and plotted an ambush for him. Though the governor escaped unhurt in the violent attack launched by the terrorists, the third in such attacks on the governor, about 15 members of his entourage were reportedly injured in the hail of the insurgent's gun fire.
An angry governor Zulum however confronted the military command of the 19 Brigade army Super base in Baga where the shooting occurred and accused the soldiers of being incapable of ensuring adequate security of the area. He threatened to report the army unit in Baga to the Chief of Army Staff, Lt Gen. Tukur Yusuf Buratai.
However, in an official statement on Thursday by the Nigeria Army through its Acting Director, Public Relations, Col. Sagir Musa, and titled: 'Re: Report of Attack on The Convoy of Borno State Governor', the army expressed deep regret on the attack which it said unfortunately occurred in a territory of the state where it claimed the combatant forces have achieved normalcy with socio-economic life there already picking up.
The army statement reads thus: "The convoy of the Executive Governor of Borno State, Professor Babagana Gana Zulum, came under Boko Haram terrorist fire while visiting Baga Town on the 29th of July 2020. The Executive Governor had earlier paid a visit to the Commander, 19 Brigade at the Nigerian Army Super Camp Baga, where he was fully briefed about the prevailing security situation in the general area. The unfortunate incident occurred shortly after the Governor and his entourage departed the Super Campaign to visit other parts of Baga town. The incident forced the Governor to abort his planned movement to Baga.
“Although, details of the unfortunate incident are sketchy and under investigation, efforts are ongoing to comb the area where the incident occurred with a view to track down and deal decisively with the attackers. An investigation is also in progress to identify the circumstances that led to the attack. Regrettably, this is an isolated and most unfortunate incident that occurred in a territory where normalcy has since been restored with socio-economic activities picking up. The Nigerian Army wants to reassure the general public that this will be interrogated with a view to forestalling future re-occurrence.
“Additionally, Nigerian Army wishes to inform the general public that it will continue to discharge its responsibilities professionally with respect for the fundamental human rights of all Nigerians and in compliance with the extant rules of engagement. The good people of Baga town and indeed the entire Borno State are enjoined to continue to provide credible information that will assist the security agencies to successfully combat terrorism as well as apprehend and flush out the perpetrators of the attack". NNL.