Suspected Boko Haram gunmen shot dead 21 people in northeast Nigeria who were trying to return home to recover abandoned food supplies, a local official and a victim’s relative said Monday.
“The men, 21 of them, were stopped at Bultaram (village) by gunmen we believe are Boko Haram who shot them dead,” said Baba Nuhu, an official with the Gujba local government in Yobe state.
Nuhu and Haruna Malam, the brother of one of the victims, spoke to AFP from Yobe’s capital Damaturu, where many Gujba residents have fled to seek refuge from Boko Haram violence.
Dozens of troops killed in Boko Haram attack on Niger army
Dozens of Niger troops were killed in a weekend attack by Boko Haram militants on an island base in Lake Chad, a Chadian security source said Monday.
Niger’s army “lost 48 soldiers, and 36 others are missing”, the source said, adding that troops who managed to escape were on their way to safety.
Another source, an official from southeastern Niger — which borders Boko Haram’s main base in Nigeria — said the toll was much higher at 80 dead and some 30 missing. He added that just five or six troops were able to flee.
A third source close to Niger’s army said the toll was even higher, at “100 soldiers… killed, 17 missing and three who managed to escape”.
A humanitarian worker told AFP that “there were huge losses” at the military post in Karamga, an “especially remote” island on Lake Chad where 120 to 150 troops were posted.
“The army is trying to find out how many it has lost,” the source added.
AFP could not reach any officials from Niger’s army for comment.
Boko Haram jihadists attacked Karamga at dawn Saturday.
It was also attacked on February 20, when seven troops, 15 militants and one civilian were killed in fighting that broke out after Boko Haram’s raid, according to an official toll.
Niger, along with Chad, Cameroon and Nigeria, has recently launched a joint offensive to end Boko Haram’s six-year insurgency, which has claimed 13,000 lives and caused about 1.5 million people to flee their homes