• Blood flows as insurgents strike mosque
•Chibok girls’ parents in auto crash, one dead, 17 injured
From Timothy Olanrewaju, Maiduguri; Molly Kilete, Abuja
Blood and tears flowed yesterday in Kogi and Borno states as no fewer than 15 persons were confirmed killed in two separate attacks.
To further worsen the bloody Sunday, one of the parents of Chibok schoolgirls reportedly died in a ghastly road crash while 17 others were injured.
They were said to be on their way to a private university in Yola, Adamawa State where some of the freed girls are currently schooling, when the crash occurred.
“The accident occurred near Hong at about 10:15am today (Sunday) while the driver was negotiating a bend. One person died and 17 were seriously injured,” a relation of one of the survivors who preferred anonymity told Daily Sun.
Maina Chibok, a resident of Chibok, said the tragic incident has put the community in mourning as families of the victims were making attempts yesterday afternoon to visit survivors in the hospital.
The parents were said to have embarked on the journey to see their daughters in American University of Nigeria (AUN), Yola.
The Police Commissioner, Borno Command, Damian Chukwu could not be reached for confirmation as at press time.
However, the police in Lokoja confirmed the death of 10 persons when gunmen invaded Kpanche community in Bassa Local Government Area of Kogi State.
Commissioner of Police, Mr. Ali Janga, said the dead included five residents of the community and five of the assailants killed during a crossfire with security agents.
He said the bandits invaded the sleepy agrarian community in the early hours of yesterday but were quickly repelled by a combined team of policemen and soldiers.
“Yes, five lives were lost in the village but operatives of the police mobile force and soldiers repelled them and succeeded in killing five bandits and recovered some weapons. So far, normalcy has been restored in the area,” Janga said in response to a message sent to him on the incident.
According to him, five houses and unspecified number of vehicles, tricycles, motorcycles and other properties were torched by the bandits.
He said security agents would remain on ground in Kpanche while full investigation into the incident had commenced.
In another attack in the Borno restive town of Bama, at least four people including two suicide bombers were killed and eight others injured.
Police said two female suicide bombers entered a mosque at Ajilari area, at 5:40 am while worshippers were observing their prayers, yesterday.
“Two female suicide bombers infiltrated into Ajilari area in Bama town, Bama Local Government and launched a suicide bomb attack on residents observing morning (Asuba) prayers.
“They detonated the IEDs strapped to their bodies, killing themselves and two other male victims. Eight other persons were injured and were rushed to hospital for treatment,” Police Public Relations Officer, Edet Okon disclosed in a statement.
He said the police have deployed personnel of the Explosives Ordinance Department (EOD) and mobile policemen to the area. He urged the people to be more vigilant.
Bama, Borno second largest town located about 67 Kilometres to Maiduguri fell into the insurgents’ hands in July 2014 forcing thousands of residents to flee to Maiduguri for refuge at camps for displaced persons.
The town was liberated from Boko Haram by the military early 2015 but residents could not return until three weeks ago due to massive destruction of homes, public building and infrastructure by the insurgents.
Amidst claim that the rank of the Boko Haram has been decimated, the Chief Of Army Staff (COAS), Lieutenant-General Tukur Buratai, said the Nigerian armed forces paid dearly for the country’s over-dependence on importation of military equipment and platforms in its fight against the terrorists group.
Buratai said aside paying dearly for its mistake, the military also found that imported weapons were not only expensive but unsustainable and detrimental to national security
The army chief made this known at the opening of the Nigerian Second Research and Innovation Summit in Abuja.
“The Nigerian army has paid too high a price for over-dependence on importation of military equipment and platforms. We have found that to be too expensive, unsustainable, inimical to operational efficiency and detrimental to national security.”
For this reason, Buratai said the army has resolved that any future procurement in support of its transformation initiative must be predicated on developing an efficient in-country maintenance and production capacity.
He said the army would support and work with partners who demonstrate the capacity and sincere desire to enhance local production of military equipment and platforms to avoid the mistakes of the past.
Buratai, while noting that the summit was being organised to avert future mistakes, charged participants drawn from various army corps, training institutions and formations to interact freely and identify the right partners that would assist in furthering their research and innovation efforts towards addressing operational problems.
Buratai said the summit was coming at a time the Federal Government has institutionalised the local content development policy recovery and group plan.
“The policy reinforces the need to develop Nigeria’s industrial complex for sustainable combat readiness and efficiency of our armed forces,” he noted.
He said the summit was aimed at exploring ways of building the right frameworks for a more sustainable participation of the private sector in defence production in the country.
According to him, the experience of the Nigerian army in the past few years and its projections for the future led to the review of its Order of Battle which saw the army expanding from five to eight divisions with additional specialist units such as the Special Forces Brigade, the Motorcycle Battalions and the Army Aviation. The implementation of this new Order of Battle 2016 requires huge resources which cannot be solely committed to importation,” he said.