Many residents of Damboa town, which was attacked by the outlawed Boko Haram sect on Friday night were yesterday seen fleeing to Maiduguri for fear of being caught in the expected reprisal attack on the town by the insurgents.
The new influx had added to the existing list of over 140,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs) housed in various camps run by the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) in Maiduguri.
It was gathered from NEMA that there were over 140,000 IDPs from previous attacks in the state camped at different facilities in the state.
The insurgents suffered a heavy casualties of 53 death and large number of injuries when they attacked military and security formations in Damboa on Friday night.
Though there were casualties on the side of the security, with 12 soldiers including a colonel believed to have been killed and a Divisional Police Officer among the four policemen said to have been felled in the confrontation, the people of the town were apprehensive that there might be a reprisal attack from the terrorists which may be heavier than Friday's attack.
Some of the fleeing residents told journalists that "the insurgents are known to always come back to attack mightily the towns where they suffered initial heavy casualties.
"We believe that they will soon come back to Damboa and we do not want to be caught in the crossfire, so we have to seek refuge in Maiduguri."
One of them said: "I was told my brother in Maiduguri to leave Damboa at least for now and I just have to come with my family so that we will not fall victims during the next attack."
He also disclosed that there was a heavy military presence in the town and that it might be difficult for the insurgents to attack now without suffering another heavy casualty but it is believed by our people that they will come back "sooner than later."
Speaking to journalists on the plans in place for expected internally displaced persons from Damboa trooping into Maiduguri and creating a humanitarian crisis, the spokesman of the North-eastern zonal office of NEMA, AbdulKadir Ibrahim, said "there are adequate provision in place in Maiduguri to accommodate the IDPs from Damboa."
He said this was not the first time people displaced by the insurgents from their abode are trooping into the town.
"We have camps at the NYSC orientation camp and other part of the town for those that may be displaced."
He noted that at the different locations the agency had put in place facilities for the displaced persons and always taken care of their immediate needs.
He noted that presently in Maiduguri, there are over 140,000 displaced persons at the various facilities, insisting that the people expected from Damboa would only add up to the list.