SEVEN hunters from Borno State who went in pursuit of Boko Haram terrorists have died after their vehicle stepped on a landmine laid down by the insurgents near the village of Kayamla in Jere Local Government Area.
Since 2009, Boko Haram insurgents have been waging a war against the Nigerian state as the sect seeks to create a pure Islamic state governed by Sharia law. Initially, Boko Haram had a lot of local support but over recent years, its brutality has alienated it and local people have teamed up with the security forces to fish out the terrorists.
Abubakar Gambo, one of the survivors of the incident said: “We were on patrol along Kayamla route when one of the rear tyres of our Toyota Land Cruiser truck exploded. We thought it was a common tyre burst but we later discovered it was a bomb blast.
“While we were trying to change the tyre, we spotted some Boko Haram gunmen creeping towards us. We began to fire in their direction while calling for a backup and soon, the Boko Haram terrorists fled and left some rustled herds of cows behind.
“Our backup team arrived and began to chase after the insurgents who had already gone far into the bush. As they were making their way back, the vehicle ran over a massive bomb that exploded and killed nine of them instantly, while nine others were injured, I saw their vehicle as it was tossed up into the air.”
Sa’ina Buba, the Borno state commissioner for youth and sports, added: “We are saddened by the death of these gallant hunters who have sacrificed their lives to protect us. We evacuated the corpses and the injured victims to the hospital last night after seven of them died at the scene of the attack
“We call on the federal government of Nigeria to support these hunters with better weapons and vehicles to enable them provide the needed support to the military. The hunters know the terrain better and they understand the tactics of the terrorists. If we don’t give support to the local hunters and vigilantes, very soon they would be discouraged and the terrorists would overrun our towns again.”
Hon Ahmed Satomi, the House of Representatives member, who represents the local area, said: “We have just buried seven hunters, God knows how many more would be buried again if the Federal Government of Nigeria continues to ignore the fact that we need a deliberate policy that will empower the youth vigilantes to carry better weapons that will end this fight. Last week it was the Zabarmari farmers that were buried in mass, today it is the Kayamla hunters. We can’t continue like this.”
At the funeral venue, hundreds of mourners wept as the blood-drenched corpses of the seven hunters were lowered for burial. Last month, 43 rice farmers were beheaded by Boko Haram in Borno State.