Nigeria: 'Boko Haram' attack villages near Chibok

A picture taken from a video distributed to some Nigerian journalists and obtained by AFP on 5 March 2013 showing hooded Boko Haram fighters in an undisclosed place Boko Haram seeks to create an Islamic state in northern Nigeria

Four villages in north-eastern Nigeria have been attacked by suspected Boko Haram militants who targeted at least one church.

The bodies of at least 40 civilians and six militants have been recovered, a local vigilante has told the BBC.

It is the latest assault on villages near Chibok, the town where more than 200 schoolgirls were abducted in April.

Hundreds of villagers have been killed in similar attacks in the region by Boko Haram in recent months.

A state of emergency is in force in northern Nigeria because of the group's increasingly violent campaign to overthrow the government and create an Islamic state.

Attacks in the Chibok area eight days earlier were feared to have left dozens of villagers dead.

The BBC's Will Ross: "We are hearing reports of totally deserted villages"

Bows and arrows

Start Quote

Smoke was billowing from our town as I left”

End Quote Samuel Chibok Survivor of attack

An eyewitness said Kautikari village, a short distance from Chibok, was almost deserted, with bodies of civilians and Boko Haram fighters on the streets.

The insurgents were there for at least four hours, setting fire to homes and shooting sporadically.

Vigilantes armed with bows and arrows and hunting rifles have been trying to defend the village from such attacks.

map

One of the survivors said some 20 men arrived in a pick-up truck and on motorbikes, Reuters reported.

"Initially I thought they were military but when I came out, they were firing at people. I saw people fleeing and they burned our houses," Samuel Chibok was quoted as saying.

"Smoke was billowing from our town as I left."

The BBC's Will Ross, in the commercial capital Lagos, says a Nigerian air force plane has been seen flying over the area.

However, residents of these extremely vulnerable villages often complain that there are not nearly enough soldiers deployed in the area and they have been calling on the government to arm the vigilante force, our correspondent adds.

AFP news agency named the other villages targeted as Kwada, Ngurojina and Karagau.

According to one account from Kwada, a number of churches there were attacked during Sunday services and worshippers killed before the militants went on to Kautikari.

line
Who are Boko Haram?
A screen-grab taken on 12 May 2014, from a video released by Nigerian Islamist extremist group Boko Haram Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau has been designated a terrorist by the US government
  • Founded in 2002
  • Initially focused on opposing Western education - Boko Haram means "Western education is forbidden" in the Hausa language
  • Launched military operations in 2009 to create Islamic state
  • Thousands killed, mostly in north-eastern Nigeria - also attacked police and UN headquarters in capital, Abuja
  • Some three million people affected
  • Declared terrorist group by US in 2013

Who are Boko Haram?

Profile: Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau

Why Nigeria has not defeated Boko Haram

line

More on This Story

Boko Haram

More Africa stories

RSS

Features & Analysis

Elsewhere on the BBC

  • SpiderWeb of wonder

    BBC Earth takes a unique journey inside the body of a giant tarantula

Programmes

  • Cinema audienceClick Watch

    Brighter 3D films - the new laser-based system promising to deliver crisper, clearer movies

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.