80 people were shot dead over the weekend, after suspected Boko Haram gunmen on horseback attacked three villages in Borno, Nigeria’s restive northeast, a vigilante and residents told AFP on Monday.
Babakura Kolo, a vigilante fighting Boko Haram, told AFP that 68 people were killed in the attack on Baanu village in Borno state late on Friday while residents said another 11 people were shot dead in two other villages on Saturday and Sunday.
Kolo said “Reports reached us of an attack on Baanu village late Friday where Boko Haram gunmen riding on horses opened fire on the village. Sixty-eight people were killed in the attack,”
He said the gunmen stormed Baanu around 8.30 pm (1930 GMT), shooting sporadically.
“The attackers came on horses around 8.30 pm and began shooting sporadically. The whole village was thrown into confusion and everybody fled. We returned after they had gone and found out they had killed 68 people in the village,” he said.
“Most of us left the village on Saturday for fear of a fresh attack,” he added.
Baanu resident Aisami Ari who fled the attack to the state capital Maiduguri on Saturday, also confirmed the attack and the death toll.
A government official, who demanded anonymity, however put the death toll in Baanu at 56.
Kolo also said four people were killed in another attack by the Islamists in Karnuwa village on Saturday.
“They shot dead four people in the village, including the chief imam of the village, his son and two neighbours,” he said.
Local resident Saleh Musa told AFP of a third attack on Hambagda on Sunday where they killed seven villagers and injured five others.
Boko Haram has stepped up its attacks since Nigeria’s new President Muhammadu Buhari was sworn in on May 29, vowing to crush the insurgency.