NIGERIA

Hundreds of Nigerians who fled Boko Haram attackers in need of food

PUBLISHED : Monday, 11 August, 2014, 4:49am
UPDATED : Monday, 11 August, 2014, 6:48am
AFP

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Hundreds of people who escaped a Boko Haram attack on their town in Nigeria's restive north and fled to a nearby mountain have said they were without any food.

"We are in distress. We need help," said Liman Ngosha, a farmer from the town of Gwoza.

"We have been starving for the past four days. We are surviving now on wild fruits," he said from the Mandara mountain.

Suspected Boko Haram gunmen attacked the town, some 135km from the state capital of Maidugur, on Wednesday.

The raid left dozens dead and sent others fleeing to the mountain near the Cameroonian border. Survivors said there were no soldiers to defend the town when the gunmen attacked before dawn.

"I cannot tell the exact number of people that were killed. Before I fled, over 100 corpses littered the streets of Gworza," Ngosha said.

The palace of the town's emir, the police headquarters and scores of other buildings were destroyed, residents said. "Dozens of our people have been killed by the attackers. Some were slaughtered, and many others shot with guns," resident James Mshelia said.

Residents said the whereabouts of the Gwoza emir, Mohammad Idrissa Timta, was unknown. Timta succeeded his father, Mustapha Idrissa Timta, who was killed by Boko Haram insurgents in May.

"There is no military presence in Gwoza now," said Halima Jatau, one of the fleeing residents.

The attack on Gwoza came a few weeks after the insurgents took over Damboa, another town in the volatile state that has been repeatedly attacked by the Islamist group.