At least 85 people were killed in a weekend attack by Boko Haram insurgents in a village near the restive north-east Nigerian city of Maiduguri, a state commissioner said on Monday. Borno State health commissioner Haruna Mshelia said 75 bodies were brought into the hospitals, while 10 others had been buried on Sunday.
He gave the new toll while briefing the state deputy governor and a military commander on Saturday’s attack in Dalori, some 12 kilometres from Maiduguri, the state capital.
Local residents and an unidentified aid worker had said on Sunday that some 50 people were killed in the attack. “A total of 65 bodies were deposited at the specialist hospital, 10 others are being deposited at UMTH (another hospital), while another 10 were buried on Sunday evening at the Dalori community cemetery” Mshelia said. He said 16 villagers were unaccounted for.
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An eyewitness Bulama Malum said he saw more than 20 bodies burnt beyond recognition and that 15 villagers were missing. A member of the civilian joint task force, assisting the military in the fight against Boko Haram said more than 100 were killed in the incident, the latest to hit the restive region.
“Even as at last night the people that died were over 100. I am sure many could have died today,” vigilante Musa Adamu told AFP. “Anybody that tells you that the figure is less than 100 is just not saying the truth,” he said.
Saturday’s attack occurred near a camp for people displaced by the seven-year Boko Haram violence. It also came as thousands of internally-displaced people were returning to camps. The Borno State government has said it was planning to return some 50,000 displaced people to their home towns in the coming days.
The Boko Haram insurgency has killed some 17,000 people and forced more than 2.6 million to flee their homes since 2009. The group which seeks to impose strict sharia law in mainly-Muslim northern Nigeria has also made cross border attacks into Cameroon, Chad and Niger.