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Hundreds found dead from Boko Haram attacks

Updated: 2015-04-29 07:40
By Agencies in Maiduguri (China Daily)

Hundreds of people have been found dead in the northeast Nigerian town of Damasak, apparently victims of the Boko Haram insurgency, as details emerged on Monday of fresh attacks by the militants.

Reports of decomposing bodies littering the streets of Damasak came as president-elect Muhammadu Buhari denounced the Islamists as a bogus religious group and vowed to take a hard line against them when he comes to power at the end of May.

Northeast Nigeria had seen a lull in violence in recent weeks after a coalition of troops from Chad, Cameroon, Niger and Nigeria claimed major victories since February, reportedly flushing the militants out of areas they previously controlled.

The grim find in Damasak "far outnumbered" that of about 100 bodies found in a mass grave under a bridge after the town was liberated in early March by Chadian forces, said local resident Kaumi Kusur.

"Dead bodies were found in houses, streets and many more in the Damasak River, which has dried up," he said, adding the victims were buried in 20 mass graves at the weekend.

Mohammed Sadiq, another local who helped in the burials on Saturday, put the death toll at more than 400, but the Borno state government did not give a precise figure.

Buhari, who takes office on May 29, was elected last month on a pledge of a tougher approach to Boko Haram than the current administration of President Goodluck Jonathan. Buhari, a former military ruler, said in a statement issued by his All Progressives Congress Party: "No religion allows for the killing of children in school dormitories, in markets and places of worship.

"They have nothing to do with religion. They are terrorists and we are going to deal with them as we deal with terrorists."

Buhari was speaking after Boko Haram fighters stormed the island of Karamga on Lake Chad in motorized canoes before sunrise on Saturday. Troops from Niger stationed on the island "were caught off guard" and suffered heavy losses, said Umar Yerima, a fisherman who witnessed the raid.

Niger's government said on Monday that its military has retaken control of the island.



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