Some residents who live in Auno, a village near the spot where Boko Haram gunmen attacked and killed at least seven passengers on Sunday night, have revealed how the incident led to the loss of more lives than earlier reported.
The Nigerian military had earlier denied the incident happened.
Hours after PREMIUM TIMES exclusively reported the incident, more revelations on the attack emerged.
A local security operative, and resident of Auno, Malam Bunu, said the incident happened at about 8 p.m.
“It was at a tiny hamlet called Yana-Yakiri, which is not far from the cattle route through which the Boko Haram insurgents normally drive out to carry out attacks,” he said. “The military had relaxed the curfew along the Maiduguri-Damaturu highway till 10 p.m., ” he explained.
He said the vehicles that were involved in the attack “were ambushed from both sides of the road at Yana-Yakari which just a stone throw distance from Auno village”.
“The driver of the first vehicle refused to stop when he saw them, so they opened fire and the impact of the shooting ignited a fire on the vehicle.
“The driver and other vehicles coming from behind were forced to stop and the gunmen ordered everyone to alight amidst shootings.
“Two persons were instantly shot dead while about 13 others were dragged into the bush in two different vehicles. We later got to learn that one of the vehicles broke down in the bush and the insurgents had to shoot the passengers at a spot about 2km away,” Mr Bunu said.
Corroborating Mr Bunu’s account, another Auno resident, Modu Gana, said residents later traced the path of the insurgents in the morning to recover six corpses of those killed.
“We tried to trace paths used by the insurgents because we heard shootings and people said they suspected that the abducted persons may have been killed. And when our vigilante group moved in, we found the corpses of the six persons shot near the vehicle that broke down. That makes the total number of corpses to be eight.
“Sadly, one of the six persons whose corpses we found in the bush is from Auno. His name is Musa, a wood breaker who travelled to Damaturu and was on his way back when they were attacked.”
Mr Gana added that “the other seven abducted persons were taken away in the second vehicle.”
Secretary of the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW), Amodu Musa, said he was yet “to track which park the attacked vehicles was registered, hence it would be difficult for him to make a clear statement now”.
“But I promise to get back to you as soon as I confirm the details, even though I heard about the attack,” he said.
The spokesman of the Nigerian Army, Sagir Musa, had earlier, in a Whatsapp message response to PREMIUM TIMES, said the incident never happened.
“No such attack anywhere in the North-east. The situation is ‘highly’ getting better on a daily basis,” Mr Musa, acting director of army public relations, said.
The Boko Haram insurgents have continued their attacks in the Northeast despite the efforts of security operatives. The terror group, which seeks an Islamic caliphate in Northern Nigeria, has caused the death of tens of thousands of people since 2009, mainly in Adamawa, Borno and Yobe states.