Governor of Borno state, Prof. Babagana Umara Zulum said on Monday that he did not damage military capabilities, but his government had repeatedly appealed to the military to establish its unit in Auno because the rebels continued to attack.
He said soldiers who usually man the Auno gate move away as soon as it is 5:00pm.
According to him, it is painful to keep calling for such support and nothing is being done.
” We have to be brutal in telling the truth. I am pushed to the wall to say the truth. Since I was inaugurated as governor of Borno State, Boko Haram has attacked Auno six times,” the governor said.
However, while reacting to allegations following the attack on Sunday, which claimed many lives in Auno along the dreaded Maiduguri – Damaturu road, the Garison Commander, 7 Division Nigeria Army, Brig. Gen. Sunday Igbinomwanhia, said that soldiers do not close the Auno gate along the Maiduguri – Damaturu roads and withdraw to Maiduguri to sleep.
According to him, soldiers do withdraw to the outskirts of the town to protect the villagers, as well as prevent attacks and launch ambushes on the insurgents.
Earlier, the theatre Commander Operation Lafiya Dole, Maj. Gen. Olusegun Adeniyi, told journalists that only ten people were killed in the incident contrary to what travellers and villagers informed the Borno state governor, Professor Babagana Umara Zulum during his visit at the scene of the attack.
The villagers had told the governor that several women and children were abducted by the insurgents aside other travellers, adding that, a military vehicle loaded with fuel which was torched by the insurgents during the attack was also the cause of destruction of many vehicles stuck at the Auno gate during the attack.
But, while speaking to newsmen, the Theatre Commander said, he had no knowledge of military vehicle plying that road at that unholy hour. ” I do not know about military vehicle moving along that road at that time,” he said.
He called on the general public to avoid been stuck at certain locations along the Maiduguri- Damaturu road especially at late hours when the road must have been closed and soldiers are engaged in operations in the outskirts of the town.
He said, “We normally close the Damaturu road by 5.00pm and it is expected that you time your movement very well so that you get to Maiduguri by 5.0pm or Damaturu by 5pm because the soldiers cannot leave to fight Boko Haram and come back to protect people sleeping on the road who refuse to obey the law in the first place.
“We will do more to ensure that incidents like this does not happen again. I am calling on all stakeholders to make the Maiduguri-Damaturu road safe.”