FEW hours after the Federal Government gave the military marching orders to flush out Boko Haram insurgents from Mubi, the commercial nerve centre and second largest town in Adamawa State, the terrorists, yesterday, defiantly renamed the town ‘Madinatul Islam’, which means the city of Islam.
Four local governments of Michika, Madagali, Mubi North and Mubi South of Adamawa State are now in the firm grip of the insurgents, throwing up thousands of internally displaced persons.
Trapped residents of the town who spoke on telephone confirmed that the insurgents firmly in control have renamed the town and have also set up check-points in strategic locations. The terrorists were also said to have urged all the residents who fled to return as they would be more secure in the areas controlled by Boko Haram than in Nigerian territories.
A trapped resident, Aliyu Bala, who spoke on telephone said: “They (insurgents) mounted check-points in strategic locations, brandishing rifles but asking us not to panic or run away. But despite assurances of safety and security, thousands of the trapped residents have been sneaking out as they said they would not risk staying in the town for fear of the unknown.”
A resident of Uba town, Mallam Salisu Baba, however, said normal activities have started picking up in the captured territories as Boko Haram enjoined residents to go about their normal activities while asking them to open their shops for business.
He said: “The insurgents have also warned politicians not to try to hold any election in the state as they vowed to frustrate any of such actions and restated their resolve to capture the whole state in no distant time.”
Baba said the insurgents have assured them of security and freedom. He added that unlike other parts of the state where curfew was imposed and people were prevented from riding motorcycles, the insurgents have assured residents of free movement any time of the day and asked them to ride their motorcycles and go about their normal activities.
According to him: “The insurgents have assured people of freedom and have been telling shop owners to open their shops, threatening that anyone who fails to open his shop will have the shop broken. Whenever the insurgents want any commodity, they pay for it. This encouraged meat sellers, tea sellers and others to open for business.
“They provided security during the market day of Uba town last Thursday while promising to continue to give market owners and residents who come to the area utmost security as long as they comply with Islamic rules. They have opened one of the filling stations belonging to A.A Garba in Uba town as motorists trooped to buy the commodity due to high demand,” Baba said.
Yola-based legal practitioner, Sunday Joshua Wugirawho, who went to Maiha town to pick up his aged parents who fled to the town when Mubi was captured, said despite the assurance by the insurgents, several trapped residents were still fleeing, including soldiers.
“I was in Maiha few hours ago. The pathetic plight of the people I saw was simply beyond imagination. We were in a commercial bus when some fleeing soldiers said we must adjust for them to get space in the bus, and we had no choice than to oblige. It’s unfortunate that even soldiers joined civilians to run away,” he said.