More than 100 villagers killed in Boko Haram massacre in Nigeria

Rampage in Nigeria sends mainly Christian villagers fleeing for their lives

PUBLISHED : Monday, 17 February, 2014, 9:33pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 18 February, 2014, 4:01am


The death toll in an attack by Boko Haram militants on a village in northern Nigeria has risen to more than 100.

The Islamist attackers stormed the village in Nigeria's restive northeastern Borno state, slaughtering scores of civilians and sending many others fleeing.

"A hundred and six people, including an old woman, have been killed by the attackers, suspected to be Boko Haram gunmen," Senator Ali Ndume said.

"Sixty of the dead have been buried while the rest are awaiting burial," he said, adding that the attacks in the area were becoming "deadlier and more frequent by the day".

The raid took place on Saturday in the mostly Christian village of Izghe in Borno, which has been under emergency rule since May last year in a bid to stop an Islamist rebellion that has claimed thousands of lives since 2009.

A local farmer, who escaped by scaling the fence of his house and crawling on his belly for 40 minutes, said the attackers went from door to door looking for those hiding in their houses.

"The attackers came around 9.30pm in six trucks and some on motorcycles. They were dressed in military uniform," Barnabas Idi said. "They asked men to assemble at a place and began hacking and slaughtering them."

There were no members of the security forces in the town at the time of the attack, he said.

The head of the local government in the area, Maina Ularamu, said earlier: "From the latest information I have gathered, more than 60 people have been killed. We suspect the gunmen were members of Boko Haram.

"They looted businesses and food stores and loaded all their spoils into vehicles owned by residents and fled into the bush."

He was speaking from the nation's capital, Abuja, and said he was preparing to return to Maiduguri, the state capital, to deal with the aftermath of the attack.

Hundreds of Borno villagers had already fled to Maiduguri after Boko Haram militants killed 43 people in two separate attacks last week. The militant sect has said it is fighting to create a strict Islamic state in Nigeria's mainly Muslim north.

The southern half of the oil-rich country, Africa's most populous, is mainly Christian.

Gunmen also attacked a fishing village on Lake Chad on Saturday, killing an unspecified number of residents.

A survivor said several people drowned in the lake as they tried to escape the gunmen.

Military spokesman Mohammed Dole confirmed the attack but declined to comment further, saying the area fell under the jurisdiction of a multinational task force comprising troops from Nigeria, Niger and Chad.

Boko Haram militants have carried out frequent attacks in cities and remote areas of the northeast, despite a military operation launched when emergency rule was declared.

President Goodluck Jonathan, who has voiced frustration with the operation's progress, replaced his top military brass on January 16.

Nigeria, which is Africa's largest oil producer, is scheduled to hold presidential elections in February next year.