Takfiri Boko Haram militants have shot dead nearly 80 people after they stormed three villages in Nigeria’s crisis-stricken northeastern state of Borno, a vigilante and residents say.
Babakura Kolo, a member of youth vigilante forces in northern Nigeria, said on Monday that more than five dozen people lost their lives after heavily-armed militants attacked Baanu village in Borno state around 8.30 pm (1930 GMT) late on Friday.
“Reports reached us of an attack on Baanu village late Friday where Boko Haram gunmen riding on horses opened fire on the village. Sixty-eight people were killed in the attack,” AFP quoted Kolo as saying.
Meanwhile, Aisami Ari, a Baanu resident who fled the attack to state’s capital, Maiduguri, on Saturday, has also confirmed the militant raid and the death toll. “The attackers came on horses around 8.30 pm and began shooting sporadically. The whole village was thrown into confusion and everybody fled. We returned after they had gone and found out they had killed 68 people in the village.”
Separately, at least four people were gunned down in another attack by the militant group in nearby Karnuwa village on Saturday.
“They shot dead four people in the village, including the chief imam of the village, his son and two neighbors,” Kolo noted.
Meanwhile, Saleh Musa, a local resident has spoken about a third militant attack Sunday on Hambagda, where they killed seven people and injured five others.
Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari, who came to power in late May, replaced the heads of the army, navy, air force and his chief of defense staff in an effort to re-energize the fight against Boko Haram.
The terrorist group has since stepped up its attacks. According to an AFP count, bombings, a wave of raids and attacks have left at least 1,000 people dead in Nigeria alone in less than three months.
The Boko Haram militancy began in 2009, when the terrorist group started an armed rebellion against the government of Nigeria. Amnesty International says 17,000 people have been killed since then.
The militancy has spilled over into Nigeria’s neighboring countries. Troops from Nigeria, Chad, Cameroon and Niger have been battling the terrorists in recent months.
Nigeria’s neighbors, which have all suffered attacks by Boko Haram, set up a regional force earlier this year to end the conflict.