NO fewer than 100 people were killed in Tuesday’s attacks on some Borno State villages, witnesses and residents said yesterday.
The attackers wore military uniform pretending to be on rescue mission. They caught the people unaware, and shot many dead.
The clashes were in Attagara, Aghapalwa and Gwoshe communities in Gwoza Local Government Council.
The attackers, some disguised in military uniforms, raided the villages yesterday (Tuesday), using “sophisticated weapons” and “started killing from house to house,” Abba Aji Khalil, chairman of a local vigilante group set up to combat the militants, said on telephone. Yuguda Ndurvua, a local clergyman, said many villages in the area “are being attacked almost on a daily basis.”
Also last night, there were gunshots and explosions arround the University of Maiduguri, which led to people running helter skelter. The number of casualties could not be immediately confirmed.
Defence spokseman Maj. Gen. Chris Olukolade, confirmed that gunshots were heard in Maiduguri, but he was unable to give details. He said he was still gathering infromation.
Ahmed Mohammed Ahmed, an elder and member of Attagara community told reporters in Maiduguri that Boko Haram men came at about 1:00 am (on Tuesday) attacking the villages for killing their members, who attacked churches and communities during a church service on Sunday.
People were also killed by insurgents, who attacked Mbulakudla village in Askira Uba Local Government Council.
However, young men in the community arrested 20 of the attackers who were handed over to security operatives. Mallam Dawa Pogu, a community leader, told reporters in Maiduguri that all the villages would soon be wiped out by the sect unless the people are able to protect themselves.
“We are thinking of the future of our children, they came, they kill and they leave unchallenged. If we continue like this, there will be no village around our area in the nearest future.
“Everybody is running from one village to another village and when the other supposedly safe village is attacked, they run again to another village. For how long shall we continue running away from these criminals who have no respect for religion or tribe or region?” he asked.
He said most villages along the highway from Maiduguri to Askira/Uba have all been wiped out.
“We have security but they cannot come to our aid because they too are humans and have their own problems that, they would not come to rescue villages that are being attacked.
The attacks on six villages over the last few days have been near the Mandara Mountains – a known Boko Haram hideout by the border with Cameroon.
Residents who managed to flee Attagara said their village church first came under attack on Sunday when 20 people were reported dead.
Villagers retaliated and some militants were allegedly killed.
This seemed to prompt a revenge attack on Tuesday when militants dressed as soldiers pretended they had come to protect the village, Mr Peter Biye, a lawmaker, said.
“They came en masse in military uniform with about 200 motorcycles… they said they came to rescue them [and] they should not run away,” he told the BBC’s Newsday programme.
Villagers were urged to come to the church, and people gathered believing it was the military, he said.
“They surrounded them – they started shooting them,” Mr Biye said, adding that the gunmen then burnt many buildings.
Those who had fled into nearby hills reported seeing many dead bodies, he said.
When troops were based in nearby Chinene village, the area was calm but since their withdrawal three months ago the area had become the insurgents’ “base”, Mr Biye said.
The government has been facing growing pressure both at home and abroad to do more to tackle the group and bring about the release of more than 200 schoolgirls kidnapped by the group in April.
The insurgents who abducted the Chibok schoolgirls almost two months ago, also wore military uniforms and deceived the girls that they were around to rescue them from those setting houses ablaze in the town