Boko Haram Terrorist Group image via Time
MICHIKA, ADAMAWA STATE (WASHINGTON EXAMINER) -- Terrorists of the group Boko Haram in Nigeria took over the town of Michika in Nigeria’s far eastern state of Adamawa, Monday, burning buildings and exchanging fire with government troops, according to Nigerian wire services and eyewitnesses interviewed for this report. The attack began at 7:30 p.m. in Michika and continued for hours with an unknown number of casualties, although initial reports mentioned “scores killed.” Nigeria’s 115 Task Force Battalion from nearby Lassa in Borno State was quickly dispatched and intercepted the terrorists, killing scores of them and causing “heavy casualties,” according to a press statement from an Army Public Affairs officer in the capital of Abuja.
“I heard bomb blasts and lots of stray bullets,” said Father Peter John Wumbadi, head of St. Anne’s Catholic Church in Michika, in a cell phone call Monday night. Wumbadi said the hail of stray gunfire motivated him to pack six of his teenage students at the parish school into his SUV and drive past burning buildings and crowds of panicked citizens running for cover in the local bush.
The military came to intervene, but many buildings were in flames, including the bank and some shops that were also looted. There was an onslaught today. The Boko Haram boys stole more than seven vehicles and went into the streets and started shooting. I think scores were killed. The Boko Haram had attacked Michika before, in 2014 and on Feb. 26, 2016.
“The Boko Haram terrorists were completely routed by the troops, neutralizing many of them, while others fled in disarray due to superior firepower,” according to the press statement of Army Col. Sagir Musa.
"Boko Haram has taken over Michika," a resident reportedly screamed to Sahara Reporters on the phone before the call was dropped.
Wumbadi drove his SUV 50 miles west to the village of Kalaa, where he took refuge in the parish house of Father Lawrence Ikeh. Both parishes are only a few miles away from the Sambisa National Park, where it is believed some 5,000 or more Boko Haram terrorists shelter in underground bunkers.
The parish in Kalaa is full of widows and orphans from a Boko Haram assault on Oct. 29, 2016, according to Father Ikeh. “After that attack, I came to visit the villages in the two-mile area around my church, and it was like a cemetery. More than 150 people had been murdered," Ikeh said as he wept. Many of the families ran into the bush and are still gradually coming back to the parish school this year. Boko Haram struck again on Feb. 19, burning houses in Kalaa, resulting in serious burns to residents.
“I have dozens of little children, with no school supplies, no uniforms and no desks, and I need to create a school for them,” he said.
“The children who came with me from Michika are traumatized,” said Wumbadi of the children he has between the ages of 12 and 15. “I would like these children to be pulled out of this environment. I think I need to find a professional counselor who can help them deal with it,” he said.
Wumbadi gave a plea for President Trump: “I appeal to President Trump to be proactive in urging our country’s government to alleviate the Boko Haram problem. That means to listen to the masses who are at the level where the violence is happening. Because most of the time there is not enough sincere information coming from the government,” he said.
The terrorist assault on Michika came after a week of chilling attacks on Christian farmers in north-central Nigeria by radical Muslims believed to be Fulani tribe terrorists. Those earlier brutal assaults on six small towns in the Christian-majority region of Southern Kaduna State took the lives of 140 civilians, chiefly women and children, but have yet to be reported by major secular media. Among the first news outlets to give voice to the cries of the persecuted were the Christian Post.
The large Nigerian expatriate community in the United States has been shocked by the steady drumbeat of terror news from their homeland, the richest country in Africa, which has contributed 6 percent of the foreign-born population of the U.S. Sylvester Okere, a Nigerian Christian academic raised in Northern Nigeria’s Kano State who has supported Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari condemned the attacks this week.
“I plead with our able President Muhammadu Buhari to put an end to the age-long shedding of human blood by religious fanatics. We hope the President can bring both Muslim leaders, Christian leaders and Traditional rulers under one roof to unanimously end the unjust killings of fellow our man,” said Okere, founder of the United People for African Congress.
On the other side of the spectrum are government critics such as Oluwasayo Ajiboye, an activist with the advocacy group known as Save the Persecuted Christians. “The Nigerian military is not fighting the war against Muslim radicals with resolve,” he said. Ayiboye has called for the appointment of a Special Envoy to the Niger Basin to bring more military assets from the Trump administration into the region.
Douglas Burton is an independent reporter who specializes in ISIS-related terrorism and is a former State Department official who served in Baghdad and Iraq during the U.S. occupation of that country.