At least 55 people were killed in two Boko Haram raids this week near Maiduguri, capital of restive northeastern Nigeria‘s Borno state, local and vigilante sources said Friday.
“Boko Haram fighters raided Bale and Kayamla villages where they killed at least 55 people and burnt several homes after looting them before proceeding to the outskirts of Maiduguri where they were crushed by troops,” vigilante official Abacha Zinnari said.
“They killed 30 people in Kayamla and another 25 in Bale,” he added.
Bale resident Husseini Ari said the village on Thursday buried 25 people killed in the previous day’s raid while several others who were injured were taken to hospital.
“The village is mourning the death of 25 people killed in the Boko Haram attack,” Ari said Friday.
A group of heavily armed Boko Haram fighters late Wednesday launched an offensive on Maiduguri city which was repelled by troops from a military base on the outskirts of the city, according to the military and residents.
The insurgents had raided the villages before the foiled assault on the city but the story was slow to emerge following a round-the-clock curfew imposed on the city by the military on Thursday which restricted movement.
“The gunmen burnt around 50 houses and looted food stores and livestock,” said Ari, adding that the insurgents targeted homes they identified as belonging to vigilantes in the village
Musa Kumbo, a resident of Kayamla, said at least 30 people were killed in the Boko Haram raid on that village and surrounding settlements.
“The attackers were heard shouting that they would come back and finish their operation once they were done with Maiduguri,” Kumbo said.
At least three soldiers, six vigilantes and dozens of Boko Haram insurgents were killed during clashes in Maiduguri on Wednesday evening, sources have said.
The assault was the first on Maiduguri for three months and came after sweeping offensives against Boko Haram strongholds by a regional military coalition of Nigeria, Niger, Chad and Cameroon.
While the soldiers were killed in combat, the vigilantes were killed when three female bombers pretending to be trapped in the fight detonated their explosives as the vigilantes were trying to lead them away from the battle scene, Zinnari said.
A member of the civilian vigilantes, who assist the military with security and intelligence, said the attack could have been a reprisal for losses incurred in a Tuesday offensive on their camp some 40 kilometres (25 miles) outside Maiduguri.
Sources said the assailants had made attempts to overrun the military facility, which was attacked on March 14 last year, freeing hundreds of detained Boko Haram suspects.
Nigeria‘s military has claimed a series of major victories over Boko Haram across the northeast during an operation launched in February with support from neighbouring Cameroon, Chad and Niger.
Boko Haram’s six-year insurgency has claimed some 15,000 lives and displaced about 1.5 million people.
Source: Vanguard news