On December 24, armed men suspected to be members of the Boko Haram sect stormed some churches including the Victory Baptist Church at Dala-Alamderi and shot to death the resident pastor, Rev. Bulus Marwa (37), Christopher Balami, a lecturer in the state-owned polytechnic, Paul Mathew, Philip Luka and a tea hawker, Yohana Adamu. The rampaging gunmen also set the Church of Christ in Nigeria (COCIN) in Ruwan Safi ablaze.
The security guard was also killed. It was black Christmas in Maiduguri as soldiers and riot policemen took over the city and launched a manhunt for members of the murderous sect. Sources said the miscreants had to beat a retreat and residents heaved a sigh of relief, hoping the carnage had ended. It hadn’t. The murderous sect re-appeared again at Dala Alenderi earlier last week and the pastor of a Deeper Life Church was the target.
The pastor, Michael Madugu, had just returned to his medicine store when his assailants pounced on him. Eyewitnesses said: “Two motorcyclists just stopped in front of the shop around 7.00pm and started shooting into the air to scare away people before they opened fire on Madugu. His assailants then moved immediately to the next medicine store where one Obinna and his brother were also shot to death. Unlucky James, another victim, who was about to enter Obinna’s store to buy medicine was also shot dead .
Bunu Musa, another witness, said: “We were seated close to the medicine store when about six gunmen alighted from two motorcycles. It was as if they wanted to buy drugs but the next thing we heard were gunshots which frightened us and we ran for safety. When we came out, we saw the owner of the store and his boy in a pool of their blood.”
Investigation revealed that the bandits had been stalking Madugu for a while, a development which allegedly prompted him to relocate his family to Dala Alanderi. Chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) in the state, Rev Yuguda Mduvwa, said security in the state was precarious, adding that “people ought to be more prayerful than before.” While commending the security apparatus in the state, particularly the State Security Services (SSS) and the army, he urged the police to brace up to the challenges of securing the state. Speaking on the slain pastor, he said: “Though I don’t really know him, I was told he was an easy going person, very hardworking and dedicated” adding it’s unfortunate he was killed in that manner”.
Dala Alenderi, a community along Damaturu-Kano road has been the hot bed of serial killings since last year. A police sergeant , simply known as Mohammed, was killed in the area early in July 2010 when the murderous sect made real their threat to return to the city. Barely a week later, Inspector Shettima Mustapha and Corporal Mohammed Ahmed were also murdered and since then, no fewer than ten persons have been killed.
Last week Wednesday, officers from the 204 Wing of the Nigerian Air Force assisted by soldiers and other security agents in the state commenced surveillance of the area . Residents of the community said routing the murderous Boko Haram sect in the community could be a difficult task “ due to its proximity to the major road that leads to neighboring Yobe, Gombe, Bauchi and Kano states where they are also present.