NIGERIA: President Muhammadu Buhari has condemned the attack on a funeral procession in Maiduguri, the Borno State capital.
This came as the Nigerian Air Force said it has sent attack helicopters after attackers who killed 60 mourners at a gravesite in Badu village, Borno State in the Northeast part of the country.
A statement by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, said the President has received assurances from the Nigerian Armed Forces that the terrorists who committed the killings “will pay a big price for their action”.
It added that a major exercise has already begun to hunt down the attackers with air patrols by the Air Force and ground operations by the army.
“The Federal Government is firmly and resolutely committed to taking all necessary measures to safeguard the nation’s security.
“This administration is determined to end the menace of terrorism,” Buhari was quoted as saying in the statement.
He assured the residents of Maiduguri and the citizens settled in Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camps that they would receive increased protection from further attacks by the assailants.
The statement came in reaction to a weekend attack by Boko Haram fighters on a funeral in the Borno State capital.
According to Chairman of Nganzai Local Government, Muhammad Bulama, no fewer than 60 persons were killed at a gravesite in Badu village, Borno State.
Bulama lamented that the insurgents, who were pushed back by villagers and a vigilance group two weeks earlier, returned on a reprisal mission on Saturday, killing about 60 persons and injuring 10 others.
“Two weeks ago, Boko Haram insurgents attacked Badu village but the attack was repelled by the villagers and members of the vigilante group,” the council chairman said.
He said in the first attack, the villagers were able to resist the attackers, killed 11 insurgents and recovered 10 AK-47 rifles in the encounter.
“On Saturday at about 11.40am, the insurgents came back and attacked mourners at a graveyard in the area, killing over 60 persons and injuring 10 others.”
He said the wounded were taken to the Specialist Hospital, Maiduguri for treatment.
Attempt to get the reaction of the military on the attack was unsuccessful as calls to the Deputy Director, Army Public Relations, Operation Lafiya Dole, Col. Ado Isa, did not connect.
Borno State Governor Babagana Umara said he would support security agencies to protect lives and property in the state.
The governor, who visited Gajiram, headquarters of the Nganzai LGA to commiserate with the people over the killing of the villagers by Boko Haram insurgents, said the government would not relent until permanent peace was restored to the state.
Umara, while condemning the attack, called on the people to be vigilant and cooperate with security agencies in their communities.