Boko Haram militants 'dress as soldiers' and slaughter 200 in village offensive
Witnesses say military was warned of attack but failed to intervene
Boko Haram militants pretending to be soldiers slaughtered at least 200 civilians in three villages in northeastern Nigeria, witnesses said on Thursday.
A community leader who witnessed the killings and wished to remain anonymous said the military failed to intervene even though it was warned that an attack was imminent.
He said residents of the Gwoza local government district in Borno state had pleaded for the military to send soldiers to protect the area after being warned of the impending raid, but help was not sent.
Instead, a group of the Islamist militants arrived in Toyota Hilux pickup trucks, commonly used by the military – and told the group they were soldiers "and we are here to protect you all".
They then gathered residents into the centre, before shouting "Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar" and firing at the crowd.
The community leader said he survived the massacre because he “was going round to inform people that the soldiers had come and they wanted to address us".
The slaughter was confirmed by both Mohammed Ali Ndume, a senator representing Borno and whose hometown is Gwoza, and by a top security official in Maiduguri.
It took a few days for survivors to get word of the massacres to Maiduguri, the provincial capital, because travel on the roads is extremely dangerous and phone connections are poor or nonexistent, the community leader said. The death toll from Monday's attacks is among the highest to date.
The Nigerian government is currently under pressure to secure the release of more than 200 school girls who were kidnapped by Boko Haram in April. Since the kidnapping, Boko Haram has increased its attacks on small towns and cities.
The mass kidnapping and bombings have piled political pressure on President Goodluck Jonathan, who on Thursday ordered a "full-scale operation" against Boko Haram.
Of the 276 girls the militants kidnapped, 57 escaped in the early days of the abduction, according to officials in the Borno state government.
A USAID-backed inter-faith group arrived in Maiduguri on Wednesday to offer psychiatric help to the girls' parents.
Additional reporting by Associated Press and Reuters
- 3 The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
- 4 Phil Neville backtracks on Tomas Rosicky 'I'd smash him' comments from Match of the Day 2
- 5 British grandmother Lindsay Sandiford faces execution by firing squad in Indonesia
Paris attacks: Do not call Charlie Hebdo killers 'terrorists', BBC says
UK weather: Snow to fall in the coming week with sub-zero temperatures to last until early February
Asteroid narrowly scrapes past Earth: how to watch the closest space rock for decades as it flies by
Saudi preacher who 'raped and tortured' his five -year-old daughter to death is released after paying 'blood money'
Prince Philip set to be knighted by Australia: Celebrate by reading his greatest gaffes
Nigel Farage: NHS might have to be replaced by private health insurance
'We would evict Queen from Buckingham Palace and allocate her council house,' say Greens
French court convicts three over homophobic tweets, in case hailed as a 'significant victory' by LGBT rights campaigners
Greece elections: Syriza and EU on collision course after election win for left-wing party
British Muslim school children suffering a backlash of abuse following Paris attacks
George Galloway condemns 'racist, Islamophobic, hypocritical rag' Charlie Hebdo at freedom of speech rally
£38000 - £42000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: One of the UK's best performing...
£35000 - £43000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Our award-winning client is one...
£15000 - £21000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This leading provider of Atlas ...
£18000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Opportunity to join established...