I left Yola on the 24th of December to celebrate Christmas in my sweet home, Garkida. Little did I know what awaited me.
I had a safe trip to Garkida, but on entering the town, I was welcomed with the sight of an army truck filled with armed personnel speeding towards the entrance of the town.
I stopped by the market to make enquiries. To my dismay, everyone was running for dear life. I barely got to stop and ask someone. His answer sent a chill down my spine:
"They are coming again".
Without much ado, I knew it was Boko Haram. I struggled and drove past the market towards my house, I got home as people were running into the bushes and to the mountain. Before long, I heard the sounds of gunshots and whistling bullets.
I saw someone close by trying to close his gate. When he saw me coming, he opened his gate and I drove in. I quickly parked the car after brushing the gate post and ran out. We fled to the mountain for refuge. That was around 4 pm.
We hid in the mountain and watched them engage in a fierce battle with the army and the vigilantes. We could also see them looting cartoons of drugs from the hospital store. Moments later, fighter jets dropped bombs to neutralise the Boko Haram assault.
We were in the mountain until one o'clock in the morning. When the gunshots and bombings subsided, we came down and snuck into the shelter of our homes. The breeze and the biting cold on the mountain were hard on the children.
The following morning, the 25th of December, we began counting our losses:
- A police officer (DPO not of Garkida division) was shot dead.
- 4 corpses were later found, two of which are believed to be workers of the ongoing water project, and the others, youths.
- Trucks belonging to road project contractor were all razed down.
- A hospital pharmacy was broken and all medications looted.
- A hospital ambulance was vandalised.
- Private vehicles were burnt.
- 5 of our youths were taken captive.
To those in captivity, we pray for their safety and safe return.
To those that lost their beloved ones, may the Lord comfort them all. To those that lost their property, may the Lord bless them with His abundance.
To all the people of Garkida, may He give us the strength and bravery to stand against the onslaught.