A survivor, hidden in a tree says he watched Boko Haram extremists firebomb huts and heard the screams of children among people burned to death in the latest attack by Nigeria’s homegrown Islamic extremists.
Scores of charred corpses and bodies with bullet wounds littered the streets from Saturday night’s attack on Dalori village, just 5 kilometres from Maiduguri, the birthplace of Boko Haram and the biggest city in the northeast, according to survivors and soldiers.
The shooting and burning continued for four hours, survivor Alamin Bakura said, weeping on a telephone call to the Associated Press. He said several of his family members were killed or wounded.
The violence continued as three female suicide bombers blew up among people who managed to flee to neighbouring Gamori village, killing many people, according to a soldier at the scene who insisted on anonymity because he is not authorised to speak to journalists.
It was not known how many scores of people were killed because bodies still were being collected, including from the surrounding bushes where the insurgents hunted down fleeing villagers, according to Abba Shehu, a security guard helping collect corpses.
Boko Haram has taken to attacking soft targets, increasingly with suicide bombers, since the military last year drove them out of towns and villages in northeastern Nigeria.
The six-year Islamic uprising has killed about 20 000 people and driven 2,5 million from their homes.
Meanwhile, Nigeria is intensifying surveillance to locate the abducted Chibok girls and other captives held by Boko Haram terrorists in Sambisa forest, an official said on Saturday.
Addressing a news conference in Maiduguri, the northeast Borno State capital, Air Vice Marshal Isiaka Amao, the commander in charge of Air Component, said the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) had also destroyed the terrorists’ leadership hideouts, logistics support bases and infrastructure in its numerous air strikes.
Amao told reporters that the air component has intensified air strikes against the Boko Haram terrorists in continuation of the counter-terrorism operations under Operation Lafiya Dole.
According to him, the air effort was focused on further degrading the terrorists operational capability as well as command and control structure, restricting their freedom of movement and destroying their logistics support base.