Extremists with Nigerian Islamist militant group Boko Haram have slaughtered at least 30 people over the weekend in the latest round of vicious attacks, CNN reported. The attacks took place in two separate villages located in northwest Nigeria and reportedly saw raiders taking food and livestock and kidnapping women and children, according to Musa Suleiman, who is with a local group fighting Boko Haram with the help of the Nigerian military.
“Gunmen in pickups and on bicycles stormed the remote villages of Yakshari and Kachifa in Damboa district, slaughtering villagers.”
Suleiman, who is from the nearby town of Biu 75 miles away, confirmed with fellow fighter Awana Ari that the attacks took place on Friday night in Kachifa and Saturday morning in Yakshari and that at least 30 people had been slaughtered by Boko Haram.
“The Boko Haram gunmen killed 22 people in Yakshari by slitting their throats. They then stole all the food supplies and all the cattle in the village.”
Suleiman and Ari believe both the most recent attacks were carried out by the same group. In Kachifa, eight residents were reportedly slaughtered by Boko Haram. Grain barns were also raided and livestock was herded away.
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According to a local Damboa government official who requested to remain anonymous, an unknown number of women and children were also taken prisoner during the raids.
“We are still working to determine how many women and children were kidnapped.”
News was slow to emerge after the horrific attacks due to poor communication in the region, resulting from the recent destruction of area telecom towers by Boko Haram militants. It wasn’t until late Saturday that anti-Boko Haram fighters in Biu received reports of the atrocities when colleagues made the perilous 50-plus-mile trek from Damboa with the grim news.
Boko Haram held the town of Damboa in mid-2014 for a short time before Nigerian troops retook the town in August of that year. Still, the huge troop deployments in Damboa have not been able to prevent the Islamist militants from carrying out random attacks on remote villages like those seen over the weekend. For years, Boko Haram has attacked the northern parts of Nigeria in an attempt to impose a strict interpretation of Sharia law in Africa’s most populated country, which remains split between a Muslim-dominated north and Christian south, reported CNN.
“As the world remains transfixed on Syria-based ISIS, which has involved Western nations in anti-ISIS efforts, Boko Haram’s attacks have escalated.”
So far, attacks have included bombings in schools, churches, and mosques, as well as mass kidnappings of women and children and assassination of various Nigerian politicians and religious leaders. In 2015, Boko Haram was named the world’s deadliest terror group following a massive rash of killings across Nigeria, Chad, and Cameroon. According to the latest tally from the Global Terrorism Index, the extremist group killed at least 6,644 people in 2014, which represented an increase of more than 300 percent compared to 2013, and Boko Haram killed more people than ISIS in 2015.
At a press conference in Germany on Sunday, Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud revealed that fighters for Boko Haram have trained in Somalia along Africa’s eastern coast, Reuters reported.
“Without a stable Somalia, the whole region of the Horn of Africa will remain unstable and by and large, the African continent. There are proofs and evidence that for some time Boko Haram trained in Somalia and they went back to Nigeria.”
Speaking in English, Mohamud urged world leaders to unite against Boko Haram.
“The terrorists are so linked together, they are associated and so organized, that we the world need to be so organized.”
[Photo Credit: AP Photo / Jossy Ola]