Boko Haram raids villages in Niger, kills dozens

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Boko Haram moves outside Nigeria for second time this week with attacks in Niger

As many as 38 people, mostly women and children, were killed, lawmaker says

CNN  — 

Boko Haram militants killed at least 38 people in raids on two villages in Niger’s Diffa region, ‎close to the border with Nigeria, a local lawmaker said Thursday.

Scores of Boko Haram gunmen struck the Ungumawo and Lamina villages Wednesday, killing residents and burning substantial parts of the communities, according to lawmaker Bulu Mammadou, who visited the area.

Mammadou said the victims were mostly women and children.

“The attackers opened fire on the villages and set homes ablaze, burning women and children alive in their homes,” he said.

The attack on Lamina was the deadliest, with 28 residents killed – 24 of them women and children, the lawmaker said.

“I lost my entire family of seven including my wife, mother and five children who were burned alive inside my house‎ by the attackers,” Lamina resident Malam Abba said.

This was the second attack this week by Nigeria-based Boko Haram in another country. Monday, four attackers launched assaults on two police facilities in the Chadian capital N’Djamena, killing at least 23.

Chad responded Wednesday with airstrikes on multiple Boko Haram sites in Nigeria, the government said.

The N’Djamena attacks are believed to be Boko Haram’s response to the increasing role of Chad in the regional fight against the group, which the United States has named as a terrorist organization.

Last week, the leaders of Nigeria, Niger, Chad, Cameroon and Benin ‎agreed to set up the headquarters of the 8,700-strong multinational force to fight Boko Haram in N’Djamena. The force is scheduled to begin operations July 30.

Journalist Aminu Abubakar reported from Kano, Nigeria.