50 feared killed as Boko Haram hits NE Nigeria village
Dukar Hussain with Stephane Yas in N’Djamena
1 February 2016
At least 50 people were feared killed when Boko Haram fighters armed with guns and explosives attacked a village in northeastern Nigeria, the army and local residents said on Sunday.
And another three people were killed and 56 wounded in two suicide attacks in the Lake Chad region, an area frequently targeted by Boko Haram, a local security official said.
Nigeria’s army said Boko Haram fighters attacked Dalori, some 12 kilometres (seven miles) from the northern city of Maiduguri late on Saturday, burning down the village and sending residents fleeing into the bush.
The attack was swiftly condemned by the European Union, which said it was committed to supporting regional African states in the fight against such extremist groups.
Residents and an aid worker said at least 50 people were killed in the assault which took place after evening prayers in the mostly Muslim region.
Army spokesman Colonel Mustapha Anka said the assailants arrived “in two cars and on motorcycles, they opened fire then set light to homes,” he said.
Three female suicide bombers who had initially tried to mingle with the villagers “were intercepted then blew themselves up,” he said.
The assailants also tried to penetrate a camp for people displaced by the Boko Haram insurgency situated just outside the village, but were repelled by troops, he said.
Villagers said they fled into the bush when the assailants entered Dalori.
– Whole village razed-
“We were seated outside our home shortly after the Isha prayer when we heard gunshots and within a few minutes the invaders had arrived,” Malam Masa Dalori, a community leader, told AFP.
“They came in Golf saloon cars and began to shoot sporadically. Many people ran to the bush including myself,” he said.
“When we came back in the morning the entire community has been razed. At least 50 people were killed, and there are many people wounded,” he said.
Mallam Hassan, another villager, gave a similar account.
“I lost an uncle in the attack. But I thank God I escaped with my children,” he said.
An aid worker who did not want to be named, also put the number of dead at more than 50, saying the bodies had been taken to hospital.
The nearby city of Maiduguri, which lies just 150 kilometres (90 miles) from the southern shores of Lake Chad, has a population of 2.6 million more than half of whom are refugees.
Known for being the spiritual birthplace of the Boko Haram movement, Maiduguri has been hit by several attacks in the recent months as the militants have tried to retake the city from which they were pushed out three years ago.
– EU condemns –
In the Lake Chad region, which borders Nigeria as well as Chad, Cameroon and Niger, suicide bombers struck two Chadian villages killing three people, a local security official said.
In the first attack, a bomber on a motorcycle blew himself up in Guie village, killing one person and injuring 32, while the second attack in the village of Miterine killed two and wounded 24, he said.
Nigeria, Chad, Niger, Cameroon have formed a coalition along with Benin to fight Boko Haram comprising 8,700 soldiers, police and civilians. In response, Boko Haram has launched cross-border attacks from northern Nigeria on the neighbouring countries.
In a statement, the EU condemned the Nigeria attack and reiterated the bloc’s commitment to provide 50 million euros ($54 million) “to assist countries of the region to fight terrorism”.
“The EU remains committed to providing a comprehensive range of political, development and humanitarian support to Nigeria and the region in tackling this threat and in ensuring the sound development of the region,” it said.
Despite claims late last year by President Muhammadu Buhari that Nigeria had “technically” won the war against Boko Haram, the group has kept up a string of attacks.
The group which seeks a hardline Islamic state in northern Nigeria has killed some 17,000 people and forced more than 2.6 million others to flee their homes since 2009.
Source: AFP News