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At least eight dead and many more wounded in series of attacks on Mallam Fatori at the weekend

24 November 2022
Reading time: 4 minutes

At least eight people were killed in a series of attacks at the weekend by insurgents, thought to be members of the Jamā’at Ahl as-Sunnah lid-Da’way Wa’l-Jihād (JAS), on the town of Mallam Fatori on the shores of Lake Chad.

The town is the headquarters of the Abadam Local Government Area and plays host the Nigerian Army 68 Battalion.

Fighting broke out on the morning of Friday, November 18. A second attack was launched that night and there were more attacks on Saturday. It is believed soldiers, police officers and residents were killed. Reports differed, but all said a number of people were severely wounded.

Some reports claimed the Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) insurgents carried out the attacks, not the JAS which is better known as Boko Haram.

A resident, who asked to remain anonymous, told RNI that the remote town was attacked even though it was home to the army base.

“At least six people were killed in the first attack and I know of two more who died in the second attack. I don’t know how many were killed in the other attacks. Many people were wounded. Most of the people stay in a temporary transit camp for resettled refugees.

“The Komadougou Yobe River has flooded both the camp and the military base close by. That was why it was difficult for the soldiers to pass through the muddy waters to get to the insurgents. Some of their vehicles could not get through the water because it was so high. While some of the Boko Haram insurgents attacked the military base, others went into the camp and town and attacked residents and burnt down shelters, homes and buildings. The Boko Haram insurgents arrived in trucks fitted with machineguns. The fighting was fierce.

“When they attacked the town in the morning, the military and other security operatives called for calm but after the second attack in the evening, soldiers told people to leave the town and go to a safe place. Residents began to run for their lives. Some even drowned in the river in their haste to escape. We believe there could be further casualties.”

The town borders Niger and Chad and, he said, “lots of people” crossed into Niger.

“I did not leave but if attacks continue I might have to. The military told us that those who wanted to stay could stay but if we were scared, we should seek refuge somewhere safer. The fighting was ferocious as the Boko Haram used their machineguns to mow down soldiers and residents.”

The resident said sporadic heavy fighting continued, starting at pre-dawn on Saturday. He said just as the military repelled one lot of attackers, more returned and kept up the attacks.

A military officer told AFP that the attacks “caused huge destruction which we are working to quantify”.

He said some insurgents attacked the military base, while others went on a “killing spree” in the town.

Security sources told VoA on Sunday that nine soldiers and two police officers were killed at the military base. They could not confirm how many civilians were killed in the town.

The resident said there were about 4,000 formerly displaced people living in the camp.

“We were resettled here when the Borno State government allowed us to return to our homes. We don’t want to leave again but we might have no other choice.”

He said neither the federal government nor the Borno State government were doing enough to protect the lives and property of people living in Mallam Fatori, adding that there was also a desperate need for humanitarian aid for victims of the attacks and the flood.

“People need shelters and food because many of the tents were submerged in the floods. Even though the government has been providing some assistance to the victims, after the attacks and flooding, it’s just not enough.”

He told RNI that people had expected to be able live peacefully when they were returned to Mallam Fatori.

“But we are still under attack. This is not safe. Both governments should be doing more to protect us. Running for safety to Niger is not the answer. We don’t want to be displaced again. This is our home and this is where we want to stay.”


About the author

Mbodou Hassane Moussa

Journaliste de formation et de profession. Passionné par l'écriture, le digital et les médias sociaux, ces derniers n'ont aucun secret pour lui. Il a embrassé très tôt l'univers des médias et de la Communication. Titulaire d'une Licence en journalisme et d'un Master en Management des projets, Mbodou Hassan Moussa est éditeur Web du journal en ligne Toumaï Web Médias. Aujourd'hui, il est devenu Webmaster à la Radio Ndarason internationale et collabore à la réalisation du journal en langue française et dialecte Kanembou.