A convoy of vehicles belonging to the governor of Yobe State, Mai Mala Buni, was attacked by Boko Haram terrorists on Saturday, resulting in the death of one police officer and the injury of six others.
The convoy was returning from Maiduguri, the capital of Borno State, where the governor had attended the 24th Convocation ceremony of the University of Maiduguri. Vice-President Kashim Shettima was also present at the ceremony, where he received an honorary doctorate degree.
The governor did not travel with the convoy, as he stayed behind in Maiduguri for another official engagement in Abuja. The security operatives, who were escorting the governor’s official vehicles back to Damaturu, the capital of Yobe State, came under fire between the Jakana – Mainok expressway, a notorious hotspot for Boko Haram attacks.
According to a source quoted by The Punch, the terrorists targeted the troops leading the convoy with an MRAP (Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected) vehicle, a gun truck and another vehicle conveying the police and the DSS (Department of State Services).
The source said: “Consequently, the troops responded with heavy fire, forcing the terrorists to retreat. Unfortunately, one police officer paid the supreme price, even as two soldiers, including a driver and four policemen, were wounded. Terrorist casualties were unconfirmed as of press time. The security operatives returned safely to Damaturu, while the wounded personnel and the driver were evacuated to an undisclosed hospital for treatment.”
The director general of media and press affairs to the governor, Mohammed Mamman, confirmed the attack, but insisted that only three security personnel were injured in the ambush by the terrorists.
He said: “They fired some shots but the security escorting the governor’s official vehicles back to Damaturu exchanged fire with them, but three policemen sustained injury. The security operatives were able to repel the attack and that those injured were responding to treatment.”
Boko Haram, a radical Islamist group, has been waging a violent insurgency in the northeast of Nigeria since 2009, killing tens of thousands of people and displacing millions more. The group has also carried out attacks in neighbouring countries, such as Niger, Chad and Cameroon.
The Nigerian government has repeatedly claimed to have defeated or degraded the group, but the recent attack on the governor’s convoy shows that the terrorists are still capable of launching deadly assaults on high-profile targets.