Borno State Governor Kashim Shettima yesterday explained why Boko Haram insurgents swooped on his convoy on Tuesday, killing three civilians and a soldier.
The governor said the attack was a mere propaganda strategy by the insurgents to attract global media attention and instill fear in citizens and troops.
Shettima, who reacted through his Special Adviser on Media & Strategy, Isa Gusau, sympathised with those who lost their loved ones in the attack.
The governor’s convoy was ambushed and attacked by the terrorists on his way to a political campaign rally in the northern part of the state.
Gusau confirmed the death of three people in the incident.
A splinter group of Boko Haram loyal to the Islamic State of West Africa Province (ISWAP) has claimed responsibility for the attack.
Reuters reported that Islamic State on Wednesday claimed responsibility for an attack on the convoy of the governor of northeastern Borno State, according to the group’s Amaqnews agency.
“The group said at least 42 people were killed in Tuesday’s attack. Sources told Reuters the death toll was between three and 10 people, though an unknown number of others were beheaded,” the report said.
According to Gusau, the governor has launched a probe into the circumstances that led to the incident, stressing that the attack will not dampen his commitment and confidence of troops.
A statement by Shettima’s spokesman reads:
“Governor Kashim Shettima mourns, with the deepest thoughts and heartfelt condolences, the demise of some fellow citizens, brothers, associates and loyal supporters following an unfortunate ambush of some vehicles in his convoy by suspected insurgents on Tuesday evening on Gamboru Road, headquarters of Ngala Local Government Area.
“While the governor is expecting full security briefing to get accurate information on the incident, preliminary report on Wednesday, confirmed the killing of three persons during the attack, which principally aimed to attract local and global media attention in order to sustain propaganda strategy and to instill fear in citizens and gallant troops.
“Governor Shettima, who returned at night yesterday, will today (Thursday) meet families of those affected by the attack. The governor will also meet some security heads to review the incident and, more importantly, to continue his determined collaboration with all security agencies and volunteers in remaining committed to the ongoing fight against Boko Haram.
“The unfortunate incident will not make the governor to doubt the capacity of the gallant and patriotic personnel of the Nigerian armed forces who have dedicated their lives fighting for peace and the freedom of Borno people.
“The governor has absolute confidence in the armed forces and given his access to raw updates, he is aware of the successes being recorded by the armed forces despite Tuesday’s and previous attacks by the insurgents.
“For one success recorded by the insurgents, the armed forces record dozens against them. The Governor remains optimistic and urges citizens to be calm, prayerful and supportive of the Nigerian armed forces and volunteers through means that include (as they have been doing) the sharing of useful information.
“Tuesday’s incident happened while the Governor was on his way to Gamboru in continuation of campaigns for the presidential and national assembly elections coming up on Saturday.
“The governor had left Maiduguri on Tuesday morning and stopped for campaigns in Mafa and Dikwa local government areas before heading to Gamboru where he passed the night and returned to Maiduguri on Wednesday. He had on Monday travelled to Damasak, headquarters of Mobbar Local Government Area in northern Borno.
“Before then, he had previously held campaigns in most parts of northern Borno, including Monguno where he spent the night. He had also been to all the nine local government areas of southern Borno, including Chibok, Gwoza, Askira-Uba and Biu, where he spent days.
“The governor extends his deepest gratitude to friends, associates and other well-meaning Nigerians that have shown concern over the incident,” the statement said.