MAIDUGURI (Reuters) - At least 45 people were killed in a Boko Haram reprisal attack on a village in northeastern Nigeria, the epicenter of the Islamists’ five-year insurgency, the head of the local government and a military source said on Friday.
The military source said the militants stormed the village in Wednesday’s attack to avenge four of their members who had wandered into the market but were identified and killed by soldiers in a gun fight.
“The Boko Haram militants mobilized and came on a reprisal,” the source told Reuters in the Borno state capital Maiduguri.
The attack on Azaya Kura village occurred on a busy market day, Shettima Lawan, chairman of Mafa district council said by telephone.
“They slaughtered 45 people. They’ve been buried,” Lawan said.
Mafa district and Azaya Kura are located in an area near the Nigerian border with Cameroon which is mostly under the control of the Boko Haram, which is seeking to establish an Islamic caliphate in northern Nigeria.
The group has stepped up attacks in the northeast of Nigeria in recent weeks since it rejected a ceasefire announced by the government.
A resident of the village who has fled to Maiduguri because of the violence, Bakura Moh’d, said a family member told him the insurgents came around noon and rounded up people to kill them.
“They tied peoples’ hands behind their backs and slit their throats like animals,” Moh’d said.
Reporting by Lanre Ola; Writing by Bate Felix; Editing by Alison Williams