Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) “terrorists” have been reported to have taken hundreds of hostages in Kukawa, town in Nigeria’s troubled North-East.
According to The Gaurdian, sources revealed on Wednesday that Jihadists linked to the Islamic State group overran Kukawa close to Lake Chad region, seizing people who had just returned to their homes after spending nearly two years in displacement camps, said Babakura Kolo, head of a local militia.
“The terrorists attacked the town in 22 trucks around 4:00 pm (1600GMT) yesterday and engaged soldiers guarding the town in a fierce battle,” he said.
On August 2, 2020, residents of Kukawa were escorted by the military as they returned to the town, an exercise that was facilitated by the Borno state government.
They had been living in camps in the regional capital Maiduguri, 180 kilometres (120 miles) away, where they fled following a bloody attack in November 2018.
A local chief who accompanied the residents to the town said the people had returned with the hope of cultivating their farmlands “only to end up in the hands of the insurgents”.
“We don’t know what they would do to them but I hope they don’t harm them,” said the chief, who asked not to be identified for safety reasons.
A security source who confirmed the incident to AFP said fighter jets were deployed from Maiduguri on Wednesday to “tackle the situation”, without giving details.
The decade-long jihadist conflict has forced around two million out of the homes, most of them from the northern part of Borno.
Many have moved into squalid displacement camps in Maiduguri, where they rely on handouts from international charities.
Despite concern by international charity organization on missions in the troubled region of Nigeria, suggesting that the area isn’t yet safe, local authorities have been encouraging the displaced to return to their homes in the last two years.
According to an official statement by the Coordinator of Media operations, Defence Headquarters, Major General John Enenche, Echotitbits reported on Wednesday morning that Nigeria’s Air Task Force (ATF) of the Operation LAFIYA DOLE successfully neutralized some Islamic State of west Africa Province (ISWAP) commanders and knocked out logistics facilities at Bukar Meram on the fringes of the Lake Chad in Borno State.