Boko Haram gunmen killed dozens of people in four villages in Borno,
slitting some residents’ throats and opening fire on others, one resident
and the police said on Tuesday.
The atrocities near Monguno in the northeastern state of Borno took the
death toll since Muhammau Buhari became president in late May to
more than 625, according to an AFP count.
Buhari on Monday further signalled his intent to crush the six-year
Islamist uprising by sacking the entire military high command that
oversaw the Islamists’ rise in strength last year. The latest raids
happened late last Friday.
On Monday, a suicide bomber blew himself up in the Borno state capital,
Maiduguri, a day after the first suicide attack in northern Cameroon that
killed at least 11.
In another sign of the rebels’ threat to regional security, a suicide
bomber disguised as a woman in a full-face veil blew himself up in
Chad’s capital, N’Djamena, on Saturday, killing 15.
Area hit before
Sheriff Kulo, from Kilwa, said militant fighters stormed his village late
on Friday night, killing residents before stealing food and cattle then
burning down homes.
“In Kilwa alone, they killed seven people, including the village head and
left one seriously injured with a fracture on his leg,” he added.
“They then proceeded to Gwollam, Misala and Magaram, where they did
the same thing. In all they killed 43,” he told newsmen from Maiduguri,
where he fled to raise the alarm.
“They opened fire on residents and in some cases they used knives to
slaughter their victims.”
There was no independent corroboration of his toll but the Borno state
police commissioner, Aderemi Padokun, said: “From what we heard, the
gunmen raided these villages. “They shot dead their victims and in some
cases slit their throats.
They also carted away foodstuffs and livestock.
“We don’t have details of the actual number of people killed in the attack
but I can confirm it happened.” Boko Haram mounted a similar raid on a
nearby village in the Monguno area on July 1, killing 48 people.
Buhari’s removal of the military top brass he inherited from his
predecessor, Goodluck Jonathan, was expected but he indicated that his
new team must deliver.
The replacement officials, including a new chief of army staff and
national security adviser both from Borno which has been worst affected
by the violence, were chosen “on merit”, he told them.
Retired army colonel Hassan Stan-Labo told newsmen he welcomed the
changes at the top and called on Buhari to now overhaul military
logistics and communications.
Lagos-based political analyst Jide Ogunlesi said the appointments
indicated Buhari – a former army general and military ruler – “can pick a
good team that can deliver”.
But he warned against politicising the military in the way some alleged
the former high command was during Jonathan’s administration.
“Critics will be silenced when they see these officers perform,” he told
pressmen. “I think their appointment will give a fillip and a stronger bite
to the fight against terrorism and all forms of banditry.”
Nigeria’s military has been traditionally dominated by officers from the
mainly Muslim north and Jonathan was accused of ignoring the
insurgency because he was from the Christian-majority south.
Some saw regional bias in the appointments with Buhari also a Muslim
from the north, while others said the high command should be given time
to be effective in their new positions.
Boko Haram’s upsurge in attacks on civilians comes after a four-nation
coalition of Nigeria, Niger, Chad and Cameroon pushed out the militants
from captured territory earlier this year.
A new, strengthened force with African Union backing is expected to
deploy by the end of the month.
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