SUSPECTED Boko Haram militants killed dozens of civilians in three villages of Borno State, a security source and a relative of one of the victims said on Wednesday.
Gunmen, in combat clothing riding on army trucks, were said to have driven into the villages of Attagara, Agapalawa and Aganjara in the Gwoza area, along the Cameroon border, on Tuesday.
Arriving at the place, they opened fire on villagers and burned houses and churches.
Dozens of people were killed in each attack, the security source told Reuters, but could not give more precise figures.
Andrew Tada, himself from Attagara but living in Maiduguri, the state capital, said he lost two cousins to the attack, noting that residents had told him they were preparing to bury 45 people from Attagara village alone.
“It is very sad and the villages are deserted now,” he said, adding that “we are just asking government to give us security to go there tomorrow to evacuate the corpses for burial.”
The security source said about three quarters of the people in the three villages were Christians, although he did not know if the attacks had targeted them specifically.
Ahmed Mohammed Ahmed, an elder and member of the community, told journalists in Maiduguri that Boko Haram members came at about 1.00 a.m and began to attack the villagers.
In a related development, insurgents invaded Mbulakudla village in Borno State, where they killed two people.
Youths in the area, however, pursued the insurgents and nabbed 20 of them, who were handed over to security operatives in the area.
A local chief in Chibok Askira, in Askira/Uba Local Government Area of the state, Mallam Dawa Pogu, who spoke on telephone with newsmen in Maiduguri, said more havoc would have been wreaked on the community if the people had not repelled the attack.
He said “they came, killed and they left unchallenged. If we continue like this, there will be no village around our area in the nearest future.
“Everybody is running from one village to another and when the other supposedly safe village is attacked, they run again to another village. For how long shall we continue running away from these criminals?”
Several calls put through to the spokesman of the 7 Division of the Nigerian Army, Colonel Muhammadu Dole, to confirm the incidents were not successful.