Borno State Governor, Babagana Umara Zulum says he is saddened by the killing of 11 security personnel made up of eight policemen and three civilian JTF members ambushed on their way to Baga as security backup in reconstruction efforts.
The governor was in Baga from Thursday to Friday to supervise efforts to return residents as part strategies to undercut Boko Haram’s long use of the commercial town as the main transit for its fishing trade and tax administration, from which the insurgents fund their murderous activities.
Baga, Borno’s largest fishing community on the shores of the Lake Chad with waterways to neighboring countries, is considered strategic to Boko Haram’s operation.
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Zulum’s spokesman, Malam Isa Gusau, in a statement issued Saturday, said two convoys – one belonging to the governor and another for a committee on Baga reconstruction had safely plied the Maiduguri-Baga route before the third convoy of security men was ambushed on Friday morning, even after precautionary steps had been taken to ensure safety.
“Governor Babagana Umara Zulum is saddened by this unfortunate carnage. He shares the grief of families of these 11 priceless heroes to whom Borno shall remain grateful. The governor prays for the repose of their souls and urges all stakeholders to remain committed to ongoing peace-building efforts.
“Zulum is of the opinion that we must continue to keep hope alive even in the face of tribulations and believe that with sustained efforts and prayers, Borno will eventually regain peace.
“The situation facing us is a tough one but we must choose between doing something which gives us some hope and doing nothing which will leave us more vulnerable to Boko Haram’s ultimate wish to takeover Borno and bring it under their sovereign brutal administration,” the statement said.
Meanwhile, Governor Zulum while in Baga attended Juma’at prayers held for the first time in nearly two years.
Baga town was displaced by the Boko Haram insurgents 21 months ago, with most of the residents taking refuge in Monguno and Maiduguri.
In the Governor’s convoy were the Senator representing Northern Borno, Abubakar Kyari, house of reps members representing Marte, Monguno, Nganzai, Mohammed Tahir Monguno, and that of Mobbar, Kukawa, Guzamala, Abadam federal constituencies, Bukar Gana Kareto.
Speaker of Borno State House of Assembly, Abdulkarim Lawan, Chairman of Baga resettlement committee, and the Commissioner for Justice, Barr. Kaka Shehu Lawan were also on the trip
While taking a tour of the construction work going on in Baga, Governor Zulum commended the resettlement committee for the quality and speed of work.
Zulum had on August 31 inaugurated a resettlement committee, which was mandated to commence immediate reconstruction and rehabilitation work in Baga.