Abuja - Religious and political leaders in Gwoza Local Government Area of Borno on Sunday denied reports of an outbreak of religious war in the area.
The spokesperson of the group, Asabe Vilita, told newsmen shortly after an emergency meeting in Maiduguri that "no ethno-religious crisis was recorded in Gwoza."
Vilita, also the Borno Commissioner for Commerce and Investment, however, acknowledged that the area was facing attacks by suspected insurgents.
She said "we wish to state categorically clear that there is no outbreak of religious war in our communities in Gwoza as being speculated, especially in the social media.
"What our people are facing is full-scale insurgents’ attack and terrorism.
"Although sometimes people have disagreements due to the confusion caused by the attacks in different areas, our people have since identified the insurgents as common enemy and have decided to unite in fighting them.''
She said 1,290 persons have been displaced in the current insurgents’ attacks in the area, especially in Gwoza East, stressing that "most people had to escape to Maiduguri, following increased attacks in villages in the last few days.
"We have decided to set up three camps in Maiduguri, where these people are taking shelter now.
"The camps are located in the EYN Church in Wulari area of Maiduguri, the Molai General Hospital and an area in Tashan Bama, also in Maiduguri.
"We have about 426 refugees in the EYN Church, about 50 refugees in Molai General Hospital and 814 refugees in Tashan Bama."
Vilita said that a committee had been set up to mobilise relief materials for the victims, announcing that "four of the six communities in Gwoza East are currently under siege by the insurgents.’’
The spokesperson listed Ngoshe, Agapalwa, Ashigashiya and Cikide as the affected areas.
She said religious and political leaders from Gwoza were collaborating with military authorities and other security agencies to ensure that normalcy was restored in the area.
She added that "we are in contact with military authorities and they have assured that they will secure the area soonest for peace to return.’’
She then appealed to security organisations to intensify efforts aimed at securing the area for the villagers to return home.
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