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At least 45 dead in Boko Haram attack

By Agencies in Maiduguri, Nigeria | China Daily | Updated: 2014-11-22 08:43

At least 45 people were killed in a suspected Boko Haram attack in northeast Nigeria, officials and witnesses said on Thursday, in the latest violence to hit the restive region.

The attack happened in the village of Azaya Kura in the Mafa area of Borno state on Wednesday, said the caretaker chairman of the Mafa local government area, Shettima Lawan, calling it "wicked and despicable".

Village chief Mallam Bulama said, "We counted 45 bodies at the end of the attack."

But other residents said more may have died after they fled into the bush.

Mafa, which is about 50 km east by road from the Borno state capital, Maiduguri, and the surrounding area has been repeatedly attacked by the Islamist insurgents.

On Oct 26, suspected Boko Haram fighters abducted about 30 boys and girls, some of them as young as 11 and 13, while locals complained of almost daily raids that had forced many to flee.

Some 29 people were killed in March after fliers were sent warning of an impending attack - a tactic used by the extremists elsewhere in the region in their quest for a hard-line Islamic state.

In the latest attack, heavily armed militants arrived on motorcycles at about 12 pm on Wednesday as villagers were at work.

"So far, 45 men have been killed and there are others that died in the bushes as a result of bleeding from bullet wounds," said one resident, who gave his name only as Jabiru.

Islamic caliphate

Trader Musa Abbani, who fled to Maiduguri, added: "The attackers destroyed more than half of the houses in our village and burned over 50 motorcycles and four cars before they took away foodstuff and animals."

A village elder, Mohammed Bukar, said, "We are still looking for our missing people, especially those who could not be seen in Maiduguri."

Survivors, most of them elderly, were seen making preparations to bury the dead.

Fifty people were said to have been injured and locals said the militants, who are said to have captured more than two dozen northeast towns, blocked exits to prevent people fleeing.

The militants continue to pursue their aim to carve out an "Islamic caliphate" under their black and white flag. Last week, Boko Haram fighters captured Chibok, the town where more than 200 schoolgirls were kidnapped six months ago. Nigeria's army has recaptured Chibok.

At least 1.5 million people have fled their homes since Nigeria declared a state of emergency in May 2013, according to the UN.


(China Daily 11/22/2014 page12)

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