The violence rocking Potiskum worsened yesterday with the killing of several soldiers, a senior government officer and his two children, as well as burning of three key colleges and homes of two Federal officials.
Potiskum, the largest city in restive Yobe State, has been plagued by intermittent Boko Haram-linked violence for months now. The latest wave of bloodshed began late last week and spiralled over the past days.
Residents said gunmen launched coordinated attacks around 2am yesterday, in which they slaughtered the Director of Finance and Supply at the Yobe State Science and Technical Board, Malam Ado Jespa, along with his two children and neighbor Sagir at their homes in T-Junction area of Potiskum.
They also attacked and razed the homes of a House of Representatives member Abubakar Mainasara and Customs area comptroller in charge of Katsina/Kaduna, Alhaji Yusuf Umar.
Elsewhere in Potiskum, the King Abdulazeez Model Islamic School, Government Science Secondary School and College of Administration Potiskum (CAPs), one of the surviving legacies of the late Sir Ahmadu Bello, were razed along with 18 vehicles.
A security guard in the lawmaker’s house, another guard at the Customs comptroller’s house, a barber living nearby and a staff of CAPs known as Malam Alfa were killed during the attacks.
A witness described the attack on the lawmaker’s home, which he said happened at about 2am: “They asked us to get them petrol or kerosine, which they mixed with gun powder and set the house ablaze. In the morning we discovered that a security guard was slaughtered there.”
The BBC News website reported that “several” soldiers were killed in the violence. “Some of our men died during the attack, but the rule is that their families have to be notified first before it is announced,” the BBC quoted an unnamed security source as saying.
JTF spokesman Eli Lazarus told Daily Trust yesterday they were aware of attacks in different parts of the city but did not mention casualty figures.
“We are aware of most of these attacks, and advised the state government to impose curfew in order to curb the crimes, which they did,” he said.
A spokesman for Governor Ibrahim Gaidam confirmed that a 15-hour curfew has been declared in Potiskum.
“Governor Ibrahim Gaidam has approved the imposition of restriction of movement in Potiskum town beginning from today Monday 22nd October 2012 from 4.00pm to 7.00am daily,” said Abdullahi Bego, the governor’s special adviser on press affairs and information.
“The measure is designed to ensure the protection of life and property and the maintenance of law and order.
“The governor urges all Potiskum residents to cooperate with security agents as they continue in their effort to ensure peace and security in Potiskum and around the state.”