About 150 people have drowned in a river or were shot dead fleeing Boko Haram gunmen who raided a remote village in Nigeria's north-eastern Yobe state, locals said on Tuesday, August 18.
Local sources say dozens of militants arrived on motorcycles and a car on Thursday, August 13, and opened fire, scattering terrified residents of Kukuwa-Gari.
Modu Balumi, a resident of the village, told AFP: "They opened fire instantly, which forced residents to flee. They shot a number of people. Unfortunately many residents who tried to flee plunged into the river which is full from the rain. Many drowned."
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"By our latest toll we have 150 people either (shot dead) or drowned in the attack. The gunmen deliberately killed a fisherman who tried to save drowning residents of the village," he added.
Balumi said the bodies of many of the drowned were picked out by locals several kilometres away.
AFP reports that news of the attack was slow to emerge because the militants destroyed telecom masts around the village, around 50km from Yobe State capital Damaturu, since the insurgency began in 2009.
Bukar Tijjani, another villager, told AFP: "Boko Haram gunmen attacked our village on Thursday which led to the deaths of around 150 people. Most of the victims died in the river while trying to escape. The gunmen opened fire on the village forcing people to run to safety."
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"Most residents, particularly women and children, ran towards the river in confusion. They were pursued by the gunmen, who kept firing at them. In the frantic effort to escape they jumped into the river, which was full to the brim."
A local government official confirmed the attack, but put the death toll much lower, at around 50.
Meanwhile, reports over the weekend have it that the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) bombarded the bunkers of Boko Haram insurgents in Sambisa forest, the notorious hideout of the terrorists.
The NAF had started massive bombardment of the area in compliance with President Muhammadu Buhari’s recent order to the service chiefs to end Boko Haram in three months.
The operation was launched with the use of the newly-deployed aircraft. The director of air force public relations Dele Alonge informed Nigerians that the mission resulted in “the degradation of the terrorist’s capabilities and destruction of some of their strongholds.”