Boko Haram members dressed as soldiers killed at least 200 civilians in three villages in northeastern Nigeria, witnesses said Thursday, adding that the military failed to intervene even though it was warned that an attack was imminent.
Boko Haram, an armed group that wants to establish a hard-line Islamic state in Nigeria, has been taking over villages in the country’s northeast, killing and terrorizing civilians and political leaders as fighters make a comeback from a year-long military offensive aimed at crushing them. The death toll from Monday's attacks is among the highest yet reported.
A community leader who witnessed the killings on Monday said residents of the Gwoza local government district in Borno state had pleaded for the military to send soldiers to protect the area after they heard that fighters were about to attack. But help never arrived. The killings occurred in the villages of Danjara, Agapalwa, and Antagara.
"We all thought they were the soldiers that we earlier reported to that the insurgents might attack us," said a community leader who escaped the bloodshed and fled to Maiduguri, the provincial capital.