Boko Haram raids kill hundreds in Borno villages

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By Aminu Abubakar

Hundreds of were killed in raids by Boko Haram Islamic militants in Nigeria’s , on the border with Cameroon, with some sources putting the death toll at 400 to 500.

On Tuesday, heavily armed men dressed as soldiers in all-terrain vehicles and on motorcycles attacked neighboring Goshe, Attagara, Agapalwa and Aganjara villages in Gwoza district, shooting residents to death and burning homes.

The attacks forced surviving villagers to flee to Cameroon and into the Mandara Mountains on the border.

“The are massive. Nobody can how many were killed, but the figure runs into some hundreds,” said Peter Biye, a lawmaker in Nigeria’s lower parliament representing the Gwoza region.

“The area is still under the control of the insurgents, and residents can’t go back to bury the dead because of the danger involved,” he said.

On Wednesday, a military jet bombarded Boko Haram positions to dislodge the militants from the villages they have occupied, forcing them to temporarily withdraw.

“They returned immediately after the jet left, making it too risky for villagers to return to bury the dead,” Biye said.

Dead bodies litter the area around the attacked villages. Ground have yet to go to the area to push out the insurgents, he said.

The attackers, posed as soldiers, told residents they had come to protect them from Boko Haram and asked them to assemble. They singled out men and boys and opened fire on them, Biye said.

A local leader in Attagara village, fled to nearby Madagali town in neighboring Adamawa state, said the death toll was staggering.

“The death is unimaginable. We have lost between 400 and 500 in the attacks in which men and male were spared,” said the local leader, asked to be named for security reasons.

“The gunmen pursued on motorcycle people who fled into the bush in a bid to escape and shot them dead.

“Even nursing mothers had their male infants snatched from their backs and shot dead before their eyes,” the local leader said.

The insurgents destroyed mobile phone towers in the region, so news of attacks is usually slow to emerge and verification of death tolls difficult to obtain.

If the death toll is confirmed, it will be the worst by Boko Haram in its five-year insurgency that has killed thousands, mostly in the . (CNN)