Following the January 2 invasion of Michika town by Boko Haram fighters, a survivor, Godwin Tije Kwada, disclosed the reason why the residents had to take refuge in the surrounding mountains.
Kwada, who actually resides in Jos, went to Michika, his hometown, for the Christmas holiday, only to be served with the reality of what his people had been passing through in the hands of the deadly insurgents.
According to him, they had to run to the mountains which had a village on it because that was the only safe haven.
The Boko Haram fighters avoid the mountains because it could isolate them and make them vulnerable to military attacks. Also, the fighters had no idea about how prepared the villagers were for them; therefore they avoid the mountains, so says Kwada.
Narrating to News Chronicle how it all began, Kwada said he had no premonition of what was about to happen on that faithful day.
“I was in a salon at Kasuwan Dare and the place was becoming dark, we noticed there was panic around. The owner of the salon went out to find out what was happening and when she noticed all was not well she alerted us, switched off the generator and locked up the shop. I then rushed and picked my canvas shoes at home because I was in the bathroom slippers. The lady also went and picked her credentials at home (knowing the implication of leaving them behind). While we were doing so, gunshots rained the air. We then escaped to a village called Kafamia (Kafamia is located on a mountain top and has always been a safe haven for Michika residents fleeing from Boko Haram)”.
Kwada said that was his first experience of Boko Haram attacks having lived all his life in Jos and that all through that encounter, his relatives thought he was missing.
He added: “during the escape, I saw elderly persons and women with children struggling to escape not knowing where their husbands were. I had to help some of the women with their children to get to the mountains which were more than an hour’s journey to the top.
“Throughout our journey uphill, we heard the exchange of gunshots between the soldiers and Boko Haram. Also, there were military aircraft hovering the skies.
“In the morning, we made phone calls and were told that security men had repelled the insurgents. It was reported that scores of insurgents were killed on the outskirts of Michika. So I came down from the mountains and headed to Yola”.
Kwada further stated that so many got injured as they were struggling to get to the mountains.
On how they spent the night, he said: “those with relatives slept in homes; others passed the night in classrooms while some lit bonfires and kept themselves warm till daybreak”.
When asked what was going through his mind during the attack, Kwada stated that from his experience of the Jos crisis, he did not harbour any fears of Boko Haram coming after them on the mountains knowing fully well that the fighters won’t be able to reach them. This is so because the fighters might make themselves vulnerable to the waiting Nigerian security forces.
Also, “Boko Haram fighters don’t have any idea what they would meet up there”, he concluded.