At least 15 people have died in Nigeria’s northeast in a spate of attacks by suspected Boko Haram militants, according to residents and local officials.
The militants, who rode in four vehicles, unleashed mayhem on four villages in the outskirts of Maiduguri, in Borno State, burning houses and shooting at people late Wednesday.
“We just buried 10 people. Most of them were burnt to death, Boko Haram burnt a lot of houses with people in them,” said Alsheikh Mohammed, a local council official told CNN in Mallumuti, one of the affected villages.
Mustapha Umar, who lives in Kofa, where the attack began around 8 p.m. local time, said five of his family members died after the insurgents set his home on fire.
”My mother, my father and three of my children were burning in the fire. I tried to save them but could not because I have to run for my life,” Umar said.
He was not able to recover their bodies.
Nigeria’s National Emergency Agency in a statement Thursday said six people were killed in Kofa village by the insurgents. The gunmen opened fire on residents as they ran to a displacement camp in Dalori village, killing another two people.
“The terrorists gained access to the area through a bush path behind the villages. They ransacked the market in front of the IDP (interenally displaced person) camp,” said Bashir Garga, the zonal coordinator of the National Emergency Agency.
Borno State Deputy Governor Mamman Durkwa visited the villages Thursday to console with families and community leaders affected by the violence.
Boko Haram insurgents have waged a decade-long war in northern Nigeria.
The group’s militants have burned villages, mosques and churches; carried out mass kidnappings, assassinations and market bombings; and killed soldiers, despite claims by the military that its troops have reclaimed territories previous inhabited by the militant group.
At least 20 worshipers were killed and scores wounded in a double bomb blast targeted at a mosque in Damboa town in Borno State in June.
Nigeria’s army said some of soldiers were killed by the Boko Haram fighters in July in an ambush in Yobe.