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The Emir of Gwoza, Alhaji Mustapha Idrissa Timta, who was assassinated by suspected members of the Boko Haram last Friday was yesterday laid to rest in his palace in Gwoza amidst tight security, at a time when the activities of the insurgents have forced thousands of Borno indigenes to flee from their communities to the neighbouring Republic of Cameroon.
At the burial yesterday, nearly 250 soldiers and policemen, armed with sophisticated weapons as well as dozens of youth vigilante, also known as Civilian JTF, accompanied Governor Kashim Shettima who defied the security threats along the Bama-Banki-Gwoza, now under siege, to witness the burial.
But only a few commissioners, wife of the governor and some aides were on the entourage while only Senator Ali Ndume (Borno South) was the federal legislator that made it to the burial.
Not a single ranking traditional ruler from either Borno or any other part of Nigeria could attend the burial, apparently because of what security sources described as “glaring threat” from Boko Haram assailants who now ambush travellers in that part of the state intermittently.
Few vehicles were seen along the Maiduguri-Damboa-Bama Road while not a single private or commercial vehicle was seen between Banki junction on the outskirts of Bama up to Gwoza, a distance of over 70 kilometers.
To provide additional cover to the governor and his entourage, a military aircraft was seen hovering in the sky along the Bama-Firgi-Gwoza Road, which is dotted with many routes that the insurgents use to get to Sambisa Forest.
But the palace of the emir was filled with hundreds of people, mostly his subjects and district, ward and village heads, who thronged in sober mood to pay their last respects to their monarch.
Most of the people, including women and children who looked confused converged on the palace for hours, and when the corpse of the monarch was brought out for funeral prayers, they all burst into tears.
Soon after the prayers, there was a heavy downpour that lasted between the time the monarch was lowered into his grave and when the final resting place was covered with sand within the precinct of the palace.
Most of the people interviewed described the late Idrissa Timta as a father of all, who treated his subjects as equal.
“In his domain, there are many Muslims and Christians but the late monarch carried everybody along. In his palace, you hardly recognize who were his children, who are orphans or who visitors…even the children of the palace guards are accorded the highest respect befitting a human being,” Salamatu Baba, one of the women seen at the scene of the burial said.
The late Timta, a first class monarch died at the age of 73 after reigning for over 30 years.
Why I had to be in Gwoza – Shettima
Shortly after his return to Maiduguri last night, Governor Kashim Shettima told journalists that despite apparent security challenges, he had to go to Gwoza to pay his last respects to the emir.
“If I didn’t go, who do you think will go?” the governor asked. “We are at the highest point of our trying moments and we strongly believe that the Almighty is with us, He will see us through.
“And as a leader, I have to lead by example so that our people would not despair. We have to encourage them to be strong,” he said.
Governor Shettima described the late monarch as an “irreplaceable icon,” stressing that the vacuum he left behind would take a long time and courage to be filled.
“Our prayer is that may the Almighty put him in Jannatul Firdaus and give us the fortitude to bear the irreparable loss,” he said.
The late emir was ambushed along the Azhur Forest, near Shafa town in Hawul local government area of Borno State while travelling together with the emir of Askira, Alhaji Abdullahi Ibn Muhammadu Askirama 11 and the emir of Uba, Alhaji Ali ibn Mamza. The two emirs narrowly escaped.
Gunmen sack Borno border communities, kill 24
Dozens of Boko Haram fighters in the early hours of yesterday attacked Wondula, Annari and Muze villages, all in Warshele ward of Ngala Local Government Area of Borno State where they killed 13 people.
Honourable Idrissa Jidda, the Majority Leader in the Borno State House of Assembly, who confirmed the incident, said all the houses in the affected villages had been destroyed by the attackers.
“The attackers stormed the villages around 5.00am and destroyed everything. They killed 14 people in Wondula; nine in Annari and one in Muze.
“They went to the villages in a convoy of eight Hilux vehicles and many motorcycles and set buildings and stores ablaze,” he said.
Jidda said most of the villagers had fled to nearby Cameroon and others have moved towards Dikwa in search of safety. “We are in a serious state of insecurity because the insurgents are killing our people with impunity,” he said.
Asked if there was no security presence at the time of the attack, Jidda said, the villages are far-flung from the council headquarters, but later in the morning, troops were mobilized to the area and I gathered they are trailing the footsteps of the assailants,” he said.
Ngala is the headquarters of Gamboru Ngala Local Government Area, which shares borders with Chad and Cameroon.
A few weeks ago, the Boko Haram insurgents killed nearly 400 people in Gamboru, destroyed over 300 vehicles, over 1,000 new and used motorcycles, and burnt the biggest border market in the area.
Four local government areas subdued in Borno
For now, Ngala and Bama in Central Borno and Gwoza and Hawul in Southern Borno have been subdued by Boko Haram insurgents who operate freely without obstruction all the time.
In Gwoza, they have hoisted their flags in many communities and attacking others at will.
Sources said the insurgents have strong cells on the Mandara mountains and constantly move out and go back to the Sambisa forest.
Our correspondent reports that hundreds of communities, villages and hamlets along the Bama Gwoza road have been deserted by the locals.
Source: Daily trust


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