- BY REMILEKUN DARAMOLA in Maiduguri•
No fewer than three passengers were reportedly killed, and seven others abducted on Thursday by suspected members of Boko Haram who laid siege on Maiduguri-Damaturu highway.
According to the security sources, which preferred anonymity, the incident happened between Jakana-Auno at about 11:15am on Thursday.
Our reporter was told that the three unidentified persons were slaughtered and their corpses left beside the highway around Auno village.
It was also learnt that seven passengers were forcefully taken away by the insurgents at the same spot were the three persons were killed.
A member of the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) at the state government owned park, which pleaded anonymity, confirmed the report and said some of the drivers plying the route had to park their vehicles for fear of being attacked.
It can be reported that Maiduguri-Damaturu highway, which used to be perhaps the only safe land route into troubled Maiduguri, the birthplace of Boko Haram, has gained notoriety in recent times with series of attacks and abduction of both civilians and security/military men on the road.
Just this week, the military and the Borno Governor, Prof. Babagana Umara had a battle over attempts by soldiers to evacuate residents from two villages on the highway, Jakana and Mainok.
The military who had identified the two villages as harbouring insurgents, said this would keep the highway free and allow them to face the terrorist group in a crossfire without fear of civilian casualties, while the governor felt the action was without his consent and against due process even as it would allow for the entire 130 kilometres between Damaturu and Maiduguri to be without live and instil fear on travellers.