(ADDS MORE DETAILS AND REPORTS OF MORE FIGHTING)
By BosNewsLife Africa Service
ABUJA, NIGERIA (BosNewsLife)– Suspected Islamist militants killed more than 100 Christian villagers in northeastern Nigeria in the bloodiest single attack in months, officials confirmed Sunday, February 16.
Fighters, believed to be linked to the Boko Haram group, began raiding the village of Izghe in Borno state late Saturday night, February 15, according to local witnesses and a Nigerian senator.
“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 in published remarks.
“Sixty of the dead have been buried while the rest are awaiting burial,” French news agency AFP quoted him as saying. He said the attacks in the region were becoming “deadlier and more frequent by the day.”
Hundreds of residents were seen fleeing the area as attackers looted local businesses and set fire to homes before leaving in stolen vehicles. “They killed many, many people in the attack late Saturday,” said the local government chairman, Maina Ularamu.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility, but authorities suspect the Islamist militant group Boko Haram was behind the attack.
On the same day, Boko Haram gunmen carried out attacks on other villages in both Borno and Adamawa States, including Kirchang, Kwambula, Shuwa, Dagu, Yinagu, Bitiku, and Yazza, local media said. Casualty figures were not immediately known, but a survivor reportedly counted 25 corpses before he escaped.
Last week, the group reportedly killed scores of villagers in a similar attack on another town in Borno state. Christians said fighters destroyed 70 percent of Konduga, including homes, schools, clinics and the central mosque, in the February 11 attack and reportedly took hostage 20 young women from a local college.
The death toll in the Konduga attack rose to 62 after four people died in hospital and five bodies were found in the bush, rights activists said.
Soon after, Boko Haram gunmen reportedly launched an attack on Wajirko Village, also in Borno State, killing four people, injuring an estimated six people, and destroying up to 50 homes. Additionally the militants attacked Mailari Village, situated some 10 kilometers outside Konduga, where they burnt homes and shops, rights activists said.
When they returned to Kodunga, the militants were reportedly halted on February 13 by government troops and local fighters.
Efforts by the Nigeria’s President Goodluck Jonathan, a Christian, and his military forces to stamp out the group have not stopped the violence, Christians and other observers said.
Boko Haram has been fighting to establish an own state and impose Islamist Sharia law in what is Africa’s largest oil producer, with 150 million people split roughly equally between Christians and Muslims.
(BosNewsLife, the first truly independent news agency covering persecuted Christians, is ‘Breaking the News for Compassionate Professionals’ since 2004).
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