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BH attacks Gombe, warns residents to stay away from polls

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After hours of fighting at the outskirts of Gombe town, soldiers of the Nigerian army have repelled a deadly attack on the town by Boko Haram insurgents.

The terrorists were on a mission to Gombe to warn the people not to vote in the coming elections. Unable to complete their mission because of the counter attack of the military, the terrorists, fled with corpses of their colleagues, and dropped a written notice, warning citizens against participating in the coming elections.

Gombe, the capital of Gombe State, came under attack by the terrorists Saturday.

“We saw them leaving and some of them shouting and telling us not to be scared that they did not come to harm us; that they had come to fight soldiers, said a villager at the outskirts of Gombe, who spoke to journalists on phone.

“We saw some of the vehicles carrying bodies of persons that appeared to have been killed or injured. Some of them were dropping written messages in Hausa”, the source who doesn’t want to be named for security reasons said.

while the attacks were ongoing, a source from Gombe, Mallam Hassan, told our correspondent on phone that “we’ve all rushed back to our homes now. Our town is under attack; we heard that Boko Haram terrorists, in their hundreds, are trying to invade the town”.

“Everywhere is quiet now, but the sounds of shooting and explosion is deafening. We hear the soldiers are battling to stop them”.

Another source who declined to be named for security reasons also said the insurgents headed towards the Army Barracks along Dadin Kowa road when the Nigerian Army troop engaged them while a detachment of mobile police officers provided back up.

Reports indicate that the insurgents launched an early morning attack on Hina and Dadin Kowa in Yamaltu Deba Local Government Area of the state but were repelled by the military.

They subsequently attacked the nearby Zambuk, but were again repelled.

There is presently a fierce battle going on between the terrorists and men of the Nigerian Army at the 301 Artillery Regiment, Gombe, according to a resident who spoke to our correspondent on the telephone on condition of anonymity.

He said, “Residents of the town are trembling as they remain indoors, praying hard for divine intervention in the matter.”

Heavy fighting broke out Saturday in Monguno, Borno State, which has been under Boko Haram control since August last year, in a bid by the military to flush out the militants in the town.

The terrorists also launched an attack on the military base in Gombe, in a renewed offensive to capture the Gombe State capital, and ostensibly distract the military campaign in Monguno.

Military sources said the fighting is ongoing simultaneously on both fronts.

“The fighting is going on at the same time; federal troops have advanced on Monguno, to flush out the insurgents but the terrorists have attacked a military base in Gombe. We are dealing with the situations,” a source said.

The spokesperson of the Police in the state, Fwaje Atajiri, could not be reached for comments at the time of this report.

The insurgents are reportedly throwing leaflets calling on residents to boycott the upcoming general elections, locals said.

“The Boko Haram gunmen are now at the Jeka-da-Fari roundabout in the centre of the city, firing indiscriminately and throwing pamphlets calling on people not to participate in the elections,” resident Ali Dahiru said.

A Nigerian fighter jet encircled the city but made no attempt to attack the insurgents, said witness Kabiru Na-Gwandu.

He said the residents had been warned to evacuate Gombe, which has been attacked by the insurgents previously.

“I received calls from friends in Kwadam, which is five kilometres away, warning me to leave because Boko Haram were on their way,” said Na-Gwandu, who lives near the military base in the city.

Meanwhile, Governor Ibrahim Dankwambo, has placed a 24 hours curfew on the capital city, Gombe in the wake of attacks.

His spokesman, Ayuba Aluke said “Governor Ibrahim Dankwambo has directed that a 24-hour curfew be imposed on Gombe as a result of the security breach in the city,”

According to him, the curfew would be in effect statewide, adding, that “By this announcement residents are to remain indoors until further notice as security operatives work to restore law and order in the city,” he said.

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