MAIDUGURI, Nigeria (AFP) – Boko Haram gunmen killed 15 people including a village leader near Maiduguri, the heartland of the group blamed for thousands of deaths in its six-year insurgency, security sources and residents said Saturday.
“The terrorists attacked Kambari village which is less than five kilometres to Maiduguri around 5am. They killed 15 people and set the entire hamlet ablaze,” the security source who requested anonymity said of the attack on Friday.
“After fruitless efforts to enter Maiduguri through Konduga without success, the terrorists took a different route and attacked Kambari,” he said.
A woman from the village who simply gave her name as Kyallu said four of her children were among the dead.
“They killed four of my grown-up children when they attacked our village about the time for the morning prayers,” Kyallu, who is now in Maiduguri, told AFP.
“They shot my children dead without any prompting. I had to leave the village with my grandchildren because we have lost our houses,” she said.
“The insurgents also killed our village head. In fact, I counted 15 dead bodies,” she said.
Maiduguri and its environs have been repeatedly attacked by the extremists who began their deadly insurgency to impose Syariah in the mainly-Muslim north in 2009.
The latest attack came as President Goodluck Jonathan was due to launch his re-election campaign for the February 14 poll in Maiduguri on Saturday.
Security in the city has been beefed up ahead of the event.
President Jonathan, a southern Christian, faces a tough challenge from Nigeria’s former military ruler Mohammadu Buhari, a Muslim, who is believed to have a cult following in the country’s northern territories.