By Ndahi Marama
Maiduguri—No fewer than 24 people were reportedly killed yesterday in an attack carried out by suspected Boko Haram insurgents in Kamuyya village, Biu Local Government Area of Borno State.
Boko Haram militants have recently intensified bloody attacks in the rural areas as over 100 villagers have reportedly lost their lives within the last one week.
The latest incident occurred in the afternoon when dozens of the insurgents, armed with assault rifles and explosives invaded a weekly market in Kamuyya village, and killed 24 persons.
Residents said the insurgents had visited the town about two months ago and asked the village head to mobilise his subjects to contribute N250,000 for them to execute God’s work.
The villagers, most of them peasant farmers and petty traders, had only managed to raise N70,000, a situation which angered the insurgents.
They reportedly threatened to return and collect the balance, warning the community to either heed their demand within a stipulated period or face deadly attack.
A resident, Bukar Umar, said: “Actually, when they issued such threat, we all took it lightly and nobody bothered to make any extra effort to raise the amount they requested for.
“Maybe that was what ignited this bloody attack because we were unable to meet their demand.”
Umara said over 20 insurgents stormed the Kamuyya weekly market, when traders were conducting their businesses and opened fire into the crowd before setting shops and vehicles on fire.
According to him, “the militants, armed with sophisticated weapons, raided the area and proceeded to the major market. They began to shoot sporadicaally into the crowd, killing 24 people on the spot and burnt most of the shops in the market.”
He said the people were taken unawares as the town had not come under such heavy attacks for a long time.
He expressed dismay that innocent people were killed without the intervention of the security forces.
He said: “Throughout the onslaught, which lasted over five hours, there was no single security personnel to confront the invaders as they had a field day.
“The invaders snatched several vehicles and loaded them with bags of foodstuff before fleeing the area.
“They destroyed everything we have, carted away our foodstuff and burnt down the remaining ones.
“The most painful thing is that they did not spare even the fleeing residents as they trailed and killed anybody who attempted to escape.”
Another resident, who preferred anonymity, claimed that over 100 houses were burnt after the attackers killed 24 people, leaving several others wounded.
He decried absence of security operatives in the area, even as they alerted relevant authorities on the need to deploy troops to safeguard the community.
He said: “Immediately after the last week attack in Kimba village, where scores of people were murdered, we urged the security agents to deploy their personnel, but our appeal fell on deaf ears.”
The resident further explained that after wreaking havoc in market, the hoodlums proceeded to the main town and set houses and vehicles on fire.
“After the carnage in market, the militants moved into the main town as they set ablaze several houses and vehicles.”