Boko Haram fighters have killed 32 people and kidnapped scores of others in a northeastern Nigerian village, local officials and a witness said, as a court-martial sentenced 54 soldiers to death for mutiny.
Neighbouring Cameroon also said that its troops had killed 116 Boko Haram fighters in a far north region.
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The Nigerian officials, who requested anonymity, said locals in the village of Gumsuri were still counting those abducted in the attack on Sunday in a remote, isolated area in the Borno state, adding that the figure, which included women and children, could pass 100.
“After killing our youths, the fighters have taken away our wives and daughters,” Mukhtar Buba said on Thursday, after fleeing Gumsuri to Maiduguri, the capital of Borno state.
There are 116 of the assailants dead on Cameroonian territory and undetermined casualties on the Nigerian territory from our artillery fire
Details took four days to emerge because the mobile phone network has largely collapsed in the area roughly 70km south of Maiduguri, and many of the roads are impassable.
Gamsuri is located on the road that leads to Chibok, where Boko Haram abducted more than 200 girls from a school in April.
Speaking about soldiers sentenced to death by firing squad, lawyer Femi Falana, who represents the condemned men, said another 43 soldiers accused of refusing to fight Boko Haram would be tried by a military court.
Falana said five men had been acquitted.
Nigerian troops regularly complain that they are outgunned by Boko Haram and are not supported with enough ammunition or food.
Meanwhile in Cameroon, the fighters attacked an army base in Amchide on the border with Nigeria on Wednesday, but soldiers repelled them, inflicting heavy losses, the Cameroon defence ministry said.
“A column made up of a military truck and four pick-ups from the BIR [elite Rapid Intervention Battalion] were caught in an ambush that began with an explosion of a roadside bomb,” the army said.
“There are 116 of the assailants dead on Cameroonian territory and undetermined casualties on the Nigerian territory from our artillery fire,” the statement said.
“There is one dead on the Cameroonian side and one officer missing.”
According to the army, the Boko Haram fighters destroyed a pick-up and a troop truck, as well as managing to capture another military truck.
Boko Haram, which opposes Western education and has been waging an armed campaign against the government since 2009, has grown in power in the area, where Cameroon and Nigeria are linked by a bridge.
One of the local Nigerian officials said the Gumsuri had previously been protected against Boko Haram violence by a strong vigilante force, but that they were overpowered in Sunday’s attack.
“For the past one year, the fighters have made several attempts to attack Gumsuri but were resisted by the gallant youths of the village,” he told AFP news agency.
“It is sad that on Sunday, the village was subdued,” he added.
The military and police were not immediately available for comment.
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Boko Haram has repeatedly attacked the vigilante forces which have formed across the northeast, describing them as legitimate targets for siding with Nigeria’s military.
The other local official said fighters “stormed the village in a convoy of vehicles [armed] with petrol bombs” and heavy weapons.
Buba, the resident, said more than half the village had been destroyed.
“The terrorists mercilessly attacked us and killed at will,” he told AFP.
Borno is the epicentre of Boko Haram’s five-year uprising aimed at creating a strict Islamic state in northern Nigeria.