, KANO, Feb 17 – Suspected Boko Haram Islamists killed more than 100 people in an attack on a village in Nigeria, a local senator said on Sunday.
The attackers stormed the village in Nigeria’s restive northeastern Borno state on Saturday, slaughtering scores of civilians and sending many others fleeing.
“A hundred and six people, including an old woman, have been killed by the attackers, suspected to be Boko Haram gunmen,” senator Ali Ndume told AFP.
“Sixty of the dead have been buried while the rest are awaiting burial,” he said, adding the attacks in the area were becoming “deadlier and more frequent by the day.”
The raid took place on Saturday in the mostly Christian village of Izghe in Borno, which has been under emergency rule since May last year in a bid to stop an Islamist rebellion that has claimed thousands of lives since 2009.
A local farmer who escaped by scaling the fence of his house and crawling on his belly for 40 minutes said the attackers had gone door-to-door looking for those hiding in their houses.
“The attackers came around 9:30 pm (20.30 GMT) in six trucks and some motorcycles. They were dressed in military uniform,” Barnabas Idi said. “They asked men to assemble at a place, and began hacking and slaughtering them.”
There were no security forces in the town at the time of the attack, he said.
The head of the local government in the area, Maina Ularamu, earlier told AFP: “From the latest information I have gathered, more than 60 people have been killed.”
“We suspect that the gunmen were members of Boko Haram. They have taken over the village,” said Ularamu.
“They looted businesses and food stores and loaded all their spoils into vehicles owned by residents and fled into the bush,” he added.
The official was speaking from Abuja and said he was preparing to return to Maiduguri, the state capital, to deal with the fallout of the attack.
Hundreds of villagers in Borno had already fled to Maiduguri after Boko Haram militants last week killed 43 people in two separate attacks.
The militant sect has said it is fighting to create a strict Islamic state in Nigeria’s mainly Muslim north.
The southern half of the oil-rich country, Africa’s most populous, is mainly Christian.
Gunmen also attacked a fishing village on Lake Chad on Saturday, killing an unspecified number of residents.
A survivor said several people had drowned in the lake while trying to escape the gunmen.
Military spokesman Mohammed Dole confirmed the attack but declined to comment further saying the area fell under the jurisdiction of a multinational task force comprising troops from Nigeria, Niger and Chad.
Boko Haram militants have carried out frequent attacks in both cities and remote areas of the northeast, despite a military operation launched when emergency rule was declared.
President Goodluck Jonathan, who has voiced frustration with the progress of the operation, replaced his top military brass on January 16.
Nigeria, Africa’s most populous nation and the continent’s largest oil producer, is scheduled to hold presidential elections in February next year.