Forty-five persons were said to have lost their lives on Monday when insurgents attacked their village, Dille, in Borno State. It was also revealed most of the houses and places of business in the village were razed down by the attackers.
One of the villagers, Njimtiku Papka, who spoke to journalists in Maiduguri on phone, said the terrorists on arriving the village started shooting sporadically and indiscriminately at everyone in sight.
He said: “Some of us had to flee into the nearby hills for safety, because the insurgents do not spare any person in their attacks and killings in the last three or four months. Monday’s attacks and killings bring to five other villages being attacked by Boko Haram gunmen, without being arrested by the military or police since last January.”
He lamented that among the people killed by the insurgents were those they considered as informants to the military.
Narrating the incident, he said: “We were caught unawares by the gunmen’s dawn attacks, because most of us were asleep by then; when we started to hear people chanting God is great in Arabic; and their gunshots we were awe stricken.
“They also burnt down our houses and locked up shops with petrol-bombs.”
A vigilante in the village, Amos Yohanna, also told journalists on phone on Monday afternoon that more people are coming down from the hills, while the ones that fled into nearby bushes, are converging on the market square, before fleeing to Lassa about 20 kilometers away for safety, because the insurgents may attack again.
It was also learnt that two hours after the attack, a fighter jet flew in and hovered for half an hour, to probably track the fleeing insurgents into the forest.
A police officer who spoke anonymously to journalists from Askira town, could not ascertain the exact number of casualties in the attack, but revealed that it took the insurgents over two hours to raze down the entire Dille village.
He said: “Over three dozens of villagers lost their lives along with several houses and shops burnt down. The insurgents came through the Uba-Lassa road in their Hilux vehicles, while others used motorcycles in attacking the village in the early hours of Monday.”