No one could have ever believed that Giwa Barrack, the largest army barrack in Maiduguri could fall into the hands of Boko Haram. The day was Friday 14th March, 2014. As usual I and my colleague were preparing for our morning lectures. It was around 7:15 when we were looking for Keke Napep and suddenly we started hearing gun shots from outskirts of the barrack.
A colleague asked me what’s going on. And I confidently replied, it’s the soldiers that are testing their weapons. The gunshots became closer and within a wink of an eye we saw people running helter-skelter.
Without knowing where to run, we started running towards the city center. A car suddenly stopped and took the two of us. There were lots of accidents on the roads as people are driving mindlessly.
We were taken to a Police College, Jos Road. The gunshots became so intense. The army officers from the other barrack, Maimalari Barrack, were seen heading towards Giwa barrack with lots of security vehicles. It was after about 40 minutes that the fighter jet arrived in Maiduguri.
The fighting got increased and from Police College we could hear the sounds of different weapons. The fighting lasted for few hours and by 11:30, I saw people trooping towards the barrack. We followed the people back to the barrack to see the aftermath of the barrack.
I saw many inhuman treatments of fellow humans. I saw a civilian JTF holding a leg of dead person. The leg was completely scattered and burned and the Civilian JTF was happily holding the leg on his way from the barrack. I saw a corpse that is completely burned beyond recognition. The corpse was then cut into pieces with cutlasses. I asked the people whose corpse was it, they simply replied that is is Boko Haram member.
I followed the people to the neighbouring areas to see the aftermath of the attack at outskirts of the town where there is a cashew plantation and an army camp. The camp was completely destroyed and all the soldiers had run. When I saw the rate of damage done to the camp and all the soldiers had run, I asked myself; if soldiers run for Boko Haram, what is a common civilian supposed to do in this kind of situation?
It was through the media that I learned that the insurgents had broken the cells and released the inmates. What baffles me much was the way soldiers run for their life during the attack. The soldiers too run helter-skelter to a nearby river, Kogin Galtimari.
On our return home, I heard one senior soldier calling some of his men to come but they did not , they said he has to come down the river and pick them up. He took others and they drive down the river. When they come back, the soldiers were wet.
The extrajudicial killings, the crying of children, accidents and the sounds of heavy guns which I had never heard in my life until this day has keep a memory in me that I will never forget.
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