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Tuesday, January 01, 2019

We Trekked For Two Days Without Food - Fleeing Residents Who Survived Baga Attacks Open Up



The residents of Baga, a Borno community who survived the devastating attack by Boko Haram insurgents, have told their story.

Some residents of Baga, who fled from Boko Haram attacks to Maiduguri, the Borno State capital, on Monday, narrated their ordeals to The PUNCH.

The residents, in separate interviews with The PUNCH on Monday, said they trekked 50 kilometres through dangerous terrains without food for two days before they could get to Monguno.

According to them, it was in Monguno they boarded vehicles that conveyed them to Maiduguri, where they are currently staying.

One of them, Hauwa Audu, in an interview with one of our correspondents, said, “I have to flee from Baga after the Boko Haram invaded our town. We walked from Friday through Saturday and got to Monguno in the afternoon (on Saturday). I was in the company of about 100 others, including women and children.

“We trekked for two days without anything to eat. In Monguno, on Sunday, we had to board a Volkswagen Golf coming to Maiduguri. We had to jointly contribute N15, 000 which we paid the driver. Apart from some men, there were 10 children and six women in the vehicle.

“We just came to Maiduguri on Sunday. We thought we would stay with our relatives living in Maiduguri or go to the Internally Displaced Persons’ camps.”

Drivers Hike Fares

He said that commercial drivers charged N15,000 for a journey which used to cost N7,000.

Thirty-year-old Adama Bulama, on her part, lamented that she brought all her 12 children from Baga to Monguno even with the rigour of a long trek.

She said she boarded a truck loaded with beans from Monguno to Maiduguri.

“There was so much struggle that I was the only one that could get on board. I even left my husband in Baga and do not know what may have happened to him now,” Bulama stated, adding that she left her 12 children in Monguno.

Another resident, 20-year-old Magara Abba, lamented that she left Baga on Thursday and got to Monguno on Friday. Together with others, she boarded a big truck that took her to Maiduguri. According to her, the truck driver collected N2,500 each from about 100 of them.

He stated, “We got to Maiduguri on Saturday; and since we came no one has come to our help. The government seems not to know we are here. We have been begging to eat since them.

“I have not seen my brothers and sisters up till now. We are a family of 15. I have not seen my father too. He was injured in the attack.”

Besides Baga, it was learnt that Boko Haram insurgents attacked Monguno but they were repelled by soldiers.

A resident, Hassan Gana, explained how he escaped from Baga when Boko Haram fighters attacked the town.

He stated, “I left Baga on Friday, trekking from 4am. We could only get to Monguno at night and we were not allowed into the town. We were about 5,000 that trekked. We entered Monguno on Saturday and got a vehicle that conveyed us to Maiduguri. I have been sleeping in the open since Saturday. We are more than 50 persons that are sleeping here (Baga Bus Terminus).”

Meanwhile, apart from Baga there has been mass movement of people out of other communities in Borno State through Damaturu, the Yobe State capital, to Bauchi, Gombe, Kebbi, Zamfara, Kebbi, and Jigawa states.

Residents told The PUNCH on Monday that the Boko Haram insurgents, who attacked some communities in Borno, were targeting soldiers.

Boko Haram had last week overrun Baga, Doron-Baga, Kross Kawwa, Bunduran, Kekeno and Kukawa towns of Borno State after three days of intense fighting.

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