On 16 and 17 January, police and military authorities reported that eight people had been killed in four separate attacks, by gunmen suspected to be members of the militant Islamist sect, widely known as Boko Haram.
The Commissioner of Police in neighbouring Yobe State, Mr Tanko Lawan, reported that, on the same day, gunmen shot and killed three people from Chad in the state capital, Damaturu. Reports said gunmen had shot two Chadians dead in the town the previous day.
In the third incident on 17 January, a local source reported that the gunmen, each with an AK-47 rifle, came on a tricycle and attacked soldiers, at a military check-point in Ajilari-Railway Cross, a suburb of the Maiduguri metropolis. The Commissioner of Police in Borno State, Mr Simeon Midenda, reported that the two soldiers were distributing food to other soldiers on duty, when they were shot dead by the gunmen.
Also on 17 January, unidentified gunmen killed a police officer, Jubril Abdulkarim, in Mubi, Adamawa State. A local source reports that the gunmen shot the officer around 6am, as he was riding on a motorcycle, near the abattoir in the Wuro-Gude area of the town. Confirming the incident, the Police Public Relations Officer in Adamawa State, Altine Daniel, said the policeman was on his way home after a night’s duty in a bank in the area. She said the police was investigating the incident.
Some security authorities however believe that members of Boko Haram were responsible for all the four attacks.
On 12 July, a bomb exploded outside the home of late Alhaji Mala Kachalla, a former governor of Borno State, in Maiduguri, capital of the state. No one was hurt.
Kachalla was governor of the state from 1999 to 2003, when he lost his bid for a second term. He died at his home in Maiduguri on 18 April 2007, but his family still resides at the house where he lived.
It is not clear if Kachalla’s house was actually the target of the attack, and many wonder why anyone would be targeting the late governor’s house or family. Three weeks ago, the militant Islamist group, Boko Haram had threatened to attack some former governors whom it blamed for the killing of its leader, Mohamed Yusuf and hundreds of followers in a July 2009 uprising. Thereafter, two former governors – Danjuma Goje of Gombe State and Ali Modu Sheriff of Borno State – as well as one current governor, Isa Yuguda of Bauchi State, have all issued public apologies for whatever wrong they may have done to the group. Kachalla, who had passed on well before the 2009 conflict, was not thought to be among those from whom the group was demanding the apology.
The spokesman of the military Joint Task Force (Operation Restore Order), Col. Victor Ebhaleme, later said the bomb must have been planted to target soldiers coming from Bauchi to strengthen the security network in Maiduguri.
He said: “Yes, there was a report of a blast near the late former governor of Borno State, Mala Kachalla in Gomari Ward on Airport Road. The suspected bombers planted the bomb on the roadside, expecting that our men coming from Bauchi could match on it, but fortunately it did not kill anyone or destroy any vehicle or building”.
[THIS IS AN UPDATED VERSION OF OUR FIRST REPORT ON THE INCIDENT].