Live Stream
Radio Ndarason Internationale


Insurgents kill 31 fishermen on shores of Lake Chad

Reading time: 5 minutes

Families say they are worried about 40 fishermen who are still missing after the deadly attack on the Tumbun Rogo Kangarwa community in the Kukawa Local Government Area of Borno State.

At least 31 fishermen have been killed in an attack by suspected Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) insurgents on the Tumbun Rogo Kangarwa community in the Kukawa Local Government Area of Borno State.

Forty fishermen are still missing.

Heavily armed insurgents stormed the community on Sunday, May 26, at about 11pm as the men were preparing to go night fishing.

A soldier, who asked to remain anonymous, said the insurgents were heavily armed.

“They rounded up the fishermen and opened fire on them.

“Every time the insurgents’ logistics supplies are intercepted, they retaliate by attacking communities in Baga, Tumbun Rogo Kangarwa, Cross-Kauwa and Kukawa town, where most of the inhabitants are fishermen and farmers.”

Kukawa is a riverine area popularly known for fishing and farming activities. It is surrounded by Lake Chad and was displaced by the Jamā’at Ahl as-Sunnah lid-Da’way Wa’l-Jihād (JAS), more commonly referred to as Boko Haram, at the peak of the insurgency.

Due to the socioeconomic viability of the area, communities have been targeted frequently by both JAS and ISWAP insurgents despite the heavy presence of troops.

Bana Masa Modu (not his real name), a fisherman and a resident of Baga town, said the men were preparing for night fishing when the insurgents arrived en masse and surrounded them.

“They rounded up the men and told them to stand in line. Thirty-one fishermen were mercilessly gunned down.

“The insurgents’ deadly attack was retaliatory and occurred after the Nigerian Army conducted clearance operations in a nearby forest.

“At least 31 people were killed; 40 managed to escape. Some of them were wounded and are receiving treatment at a military base in Cross-Kauwa. Others are at Kukawa town.

“We are extremely worried about 40 fishermen who are still missing. We suspect some of them might be dead or severely wounded.

“The families are extremely worried about their loved ones.

“The corpses of the victims remain in the bush. Those who fled to nearby bushes are gradually returning.”

Modu said after the attack, insurgents told residents of Kukawa town, the headquarters of the local government area, to leave immediately or they would be killed.

“Right now, residents are struggling to get vehicles to leave the town. Some are already trekking on foot. They are using donkeys to carry their luggage.

“Farmers in the area had already started to clear their lands for seasonal farming before the insurgents ordered them to leave the town.”

Mohammed Laminu, the national president of the Fish Dealers’ Association of Nigeria, said: “We are saddened by the killing of our fishermen by the terrorists in Baga. Forty fishermen are still missing as of today.

“We call on the government and Nigerian military to do more to protect citizens against attacks by insurgents. These vicious killings are crippling us.”

Salisu Adamu, a fish trader at the Baga Fish Market in Maiduguri, told RNI that the deadly attacks would “seriously affect the business activities of buying and selling fish in Borno State”.

“The Borno State government and security operatives need to step up measures to ensure the protection of lives and property of fishermen living on the shores of Lake Chad.

“Many of our colleagues died in the attack. Initially, we were told 15 had died. But, based on information we received from colleagues in Baga town, we now know at least 31 fishermen were killed. At least 40 escaped into the bushes. There might be more dead or wounded.

“The military, members of the civilian joint task force [CJTF] and other security operatives are still searching in the bushes for the missing men and any remaining corpses.”

Ali Goni Bukar, an official at the Baga Market Fish Sellers’ Association, told RNI the attack had frightened most of the fishermen on the shores of Lake Chad, including fish traders and drivers who transported fish from Baga town to Maiduguri.

“The military and the government need to put in place all necessary security measures to safeguard the fishermen. If not, we will lose more colleagues and the popular Baga Fish Market will be crippled and shattered after years of insurgency.

“The attack on our colleagues shocked all of us. It was the deadliest in recent times.

“It is imperative for the government and security operatives to take stringent measures to curtail further attacks on farmers and fishermen. Their lives and safety must be protected not only in the Kukawa district of Borno State but also in the whole of the Lake Chad region.

“The fishermen do not come only from Kukawa town. Fishermen in Monguno, Cross-Kauwa, Doron Baga and Baga have been attacked previously by insurgents.

“There have also been attacks on inhabitants of towns in the Lake Chad region in neighbouring countries. All our lives are at stake. The governments of Nigeria, Chad, Cameroon and the Niger Republic must work together to safeguard every inhabitant in the Lake Chad region.”



About the author