Boko Haram extremists on Monday raided a village in restive northeast Nigeria’s Borno state near the border with Niger, killing seven people, elombah.com has learnt.
The latest terrorist attack occurred even as ten suspected Boko Haram members are set to go on trial in Chad over their alleged roles in twin attacks that killed 38 people in the capital N’Djamena in June. The case was on Monday referred to the country’s criminal court, the source said, though no date was given for the start of the proceedings.
Dozens of gunmen stormed Awonori, a farming and herding village near the fishing town of Damasak, and carted away food supplies and livestock, they said.
“They killed seven people, looted grains and took away all the livestocks in the village before fleeing into the bush,” Muhammadu Modu Wan-Wan, head of the Damasak fishermen’s union, told AFP.
“The gunmen who came in vans and on motorcycles around 7:00 am (0600 GMT) besieged the village and opened fire on residents as they were having breakfast before moving to their farms,” he said.
Wan-Wan said the attack forced the villagers to flee but they returned after the assailants had left.
Abubakar Gamandi, the head of Borno’s fishermen’s union, confirmed the attack.
“I received report from my members in the Damasak area that Boko Haram gunmen attacked Awonori village this morning where they killed seven people and took away food and livestocks,” he said.
Last month, residents of Damasak and surrounding villages fled their homes and crossed the border into the Niger town of Diffa, fearing Boko Haram attacks.
But Wan-Wan said many residents have since returned to their farms.
“People have no food to feed their families which is why they take the risk of going back to their villages to work on their farms now that the rainy season has started,” he said.
Boko Haram, which is seeking to carve out a hardline Islamic state in northeast Nigeria, has killed some 15,000 people since 2009.
A regional 8,700-strong force aimed at ending the insurgency is due to deploy within days.
Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari on Monday told a national security gathering in Abuja that his government would “employ at least an extra 10,000 police officers and establish a properly trained and equipped federal anti-terrorism multi-agency task force” to crush the rebellion.
10 Boko Haram suspects ‘to face trial in Chad
The trial of the suspected Islamists from the Nigeria-based group will be the first of its kind in Chad. “The 10 suspected perpetrators stand accused of murder using explosives, illegal possession of weapons of war and criminal conspiracy,” the source said.
The accused include Nigerian national Mahamat Mustapha, also known as Bana Fanaye, who according to Chadian authorities was the mastermind behind the June 15 suicide attacks that struck a school and a police building in N’Djamena, killing 38 people and injuring over 100.
Shortly after Fanaye’s arrest in late June, Chad’s top prosecutor Alghassim Kassim said the suspect was the “ringleader of a network smuggling weapons and munitions between Nigeria, Cameroon and Chad”. Fanaye was also responsible for procuring weapons and “recruiting and managing Boko Haram members”, Kassim added.
The June attacks in the Chadian capital were followed by another suicide blast at a market in July that killed 15 people. Chad — which is part of a regional fightback against Boko Haram — has beefed up security in response to the bloodshed. Its parliament last month also passed a stringent anti-terror bill that reintroduces the death penalty for the most serious offences.
The draft law has yet to be promulgated however and as such has no bearing on the case of the 10 detainees set to go on trial, the judicial source told AFP. Boko Haram, which is seeking to carve out a hardline Islamic state in northeast Nigeria, has killed some 15,000 people since 2009.
A regional 8,700-strong force aimed at ending the insurgency is due to deploy within days. Benin, Cameroon, Chad, Niger and Nigeria have all pledged troops towards the new force.