About 350 children are feared missing following the annexation of Mubi in Adamawa State by Boko Haram insurgents on Wednesday.
At the time the insurgents struck the town, many children were at their schools and got missing in the commotion generated by the arrival of the insurgents as people scampered in different directions to avoid being caught by the bullets of the insurgents.
A displaced woman, Hajiya Mairo Abdullahi, was seen holding the picture of her seven-year-old child who she claimed got missing after the insurgents struck the town.
She said: “Since morning, I have been going from one street to another asking people whether they have seen Farouk, my last child. I have been making calls since the day he got missing but up unti now I have not heard any positive response,” she said.
Another parent, Hajiya Binta Musa, said she could not locate three of her children, while Mr. Solomon Kabilam, said about eight of his children similarly got missing
“When the insurgents struck Mubi, my wife called to inform me that she and the children were in the midst of the insurgents who were firing gun shots sporadically and, immediately, the line went off. Since then I could neither communicate with her nor any of the children,” Kabilam said.
“My life has no more value as I cannot not even eat because whenever I try to put anything into my mouth, the thought that my little children may be starving in the bush always make me cringe with exasperation.”
Another victim, who told our correspondent that he had lost contact with his three wives and 15 children, said his life had been completely shattered by the incident.
“I tried to no avail to get across to them, I reached my contacts in Cameroon and Yola without success. Right now I don’t know whether they are alive or dead,” he said.
Many children are similarly stranded in Yola as they cannot locate their parents.
One of such children, who was seen wandering in Yola and identified himself as Sulaiman, said he fled his hometown, Uba, when the insurgents struck his family home and killed his father and brothers, and abducted his mother and aunt.
5 military commanders detained
Five military commanders have been reportedly handcuffed and detained at the military police guardroom at the 23 Brigade headquarters in Yola, Adamawa State, for abandoning Mubi in Adamawa State to Boko Haram militants last week.
The commanders, whose names and ranks were given as Colonel Ibrahim, Lt. Colonel Magaji and three others, abandoned the 213 Brigade headquarters a few minutes after Boko Haram militants reached Mararaba and Hildi on the outskirts of Mubi.
But a soldier, who did not want his name in print, told the Hausa service of the Voice of America (VOA) that lack of war equipment forced them to abandon Mubi to Boko Haram.
“The militants stormed the town with “AA” and “RCC” equipment, and even though more troops had been deployed during the gun duel, the situation was beyond our control,” he said.
Another set of commanders from the 234 Brigade, according to defence officials in Abuja, are expected to be detained by the military authorities as soon as they leave the MRS Hospital in Yola.
The team includes Lt. Col. O. A. Agwu and his lieutenants. They were said to have equally fled the battle scene in Mubi and allowed Boko Haram militants to take the town without resistance.
However, Lt. Col Agwu’s pick-up van was said to have somersaulted twice, injuring him and his lieutenants as they fled Mubi.
Mubi had three army battalions comprising of the 234 Brigade, the 213 Brigade and the 21 Support Group but they fell to the militants last week. The soldiers fled alongside civilians to neighbouring villages, the state capital, Yola, and the neighbouring country, Cameroon.
10,000 refugees storm Yola
Meanwhile, no fewer than 10,000 people from recently attacked villages are now living as refugees in Yola, according to the Hausa service of the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC).
The people who are now displaced persons in Yola have lamented the lack food, calling on the federal government to come to their aid and to ensure that the insurgency, which brought the woes to the people, is completely stamped out.
The residents told the BBC that they were crying out to tell the whole world about of their plight following the attack by Boko Haram that destroyed their communities and caused the deaths of thousands.