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The Borno Massacre: An Insider’s Account From The Front Line



This account by a military officer on the ground is accompanied by pictures of the scene of the attack on the 76 poor farmers.

“This massacre did not take place in Zabarmari contrary to widespread media accounts. Zabarmari is about 13 kilometers away from Maiduguri and there is a company of soldiers there. It is relatively safe.

The last time Boko Haram attempted to attack Zabarmari was in January this year and they were thwarted.

The massacre took place in the abandoned and deserted fishing and rice producing community of Koshebe.

Koshebe is 15 kilometers away from Zabarmari and about 27 kilometers away from Maiduguri on a very bad road. The area is only accessible by motorcycles and agricultural tractors due to the swampy and challenging nature of the terrain.

A day after this incident, the theatre commander and the Ag GOC 7 Division visited this location.They had to ride on tractors alongside their escorts to access this area.

They visited the scene where this killings took place. Sat 28 Nov was an LG elections day; elections had not been held in Borno for 12 years and as such,Intel reports indicated BHTs plans to thwart the elections. To forestall this, the army restricted movements for that day to the farms and heightened security around all population centres including ZABARMARI.

Therefore on that day the incident took place, the ARMY did NOT know that any FARMERS were OUT in the field till news of the killings filtered and they quickly mobilized alongside the civilian joint taskforce to the area and combed the area recovering 43 corpses which wereloaded on a tractor and brought back to Zabarmari.

The UN whose coordinator in Nigeria @EdwardKallon from Sierra Leone who had mysteriously declared 110 killed without a shred of evidence sent a team finally to Zabarmari on Dec 1 to interface with the communityand visited the graves to ascertain.

Meanwhile when the leadership of Operations Lafiya Dole visited the community, the whole area was combed and no dead or decomposing bodies were found as it was being peddled in some sections of the media.Rather the team rescued 3 farmers who were hibernating in the bushes.

They are Modu Gana 25 years, Bakura Abba 28 years and Umara Mustapha 30 years all from Gamdori community in JERE LGA same LG with Zabarmari.They passed valuable information to the security forces.

The security forces have continued to do their best in a difficult environment including making the supreme sacrifices; yet some people are playing politics with the issue.

Let them go and interview people in Zabarmarito know how they appreciate the efforts of the soldiers there.

In the last one year, Maiduguri and environs have been remarkably calm. Markets and other commercial activities are picking up.

The Maiduguri, Bama, Gwoza and Adamawa route is functioning.Commercial activities are thriving on this route, which was once a no go area.

Transportation of goods and passengers is going on smoothly on this route, something that was once unthinkable. Our troops deserve credit for stopping a bad situation from getting worse,despite their limitations.

Our media people should interact with these communities to hear directly from them about the efforts of our troops to protect them.

Thousands of internally displaced persons in the Borno state who were previously forced out of their homesby the Boko Haram terrorists have now returned their homes in Baga, Ajiri, Marte, Ngoshe and kauri among others! Our media should report these successes fairly and objectively instead of highlighting only the set backs in the course of counter-terrorism operations.

When the media undermine the morale of the troops through disproportionate condemnations, they may inevitably play into the hands of the terrorists by making them look like heroes while undermining public confidence in the military.”

By Abubakar sadiq kurbe

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