Boko Haram fighters have killed at least 37 people and destroyed more than 400 buildings in an assault on the town of Gubio in northeastern Nigeria’s Borno state, witnesses say.
The latest attack, which a military source said involved about 50 Boko Haram members storming Gubio, lasted for around five hours on Saturday afternoon and ended at about 9.30pm local time, Malam Yusuf Mohammed, a local resident, told the Reuters news agency.
Details of such attacks often take a number of days to surface outside of the affected areas due to poor telecommunications in the remote northeastern region of Nigeria, Africa’s biggest economy and most populous nation.
“They came, shooting, threatening to kill everybody. They set fire on many houses, burnt down our peoples’ vehicles and motorcycles,” Bukar Mondama, the leader of a local vigilante group, told Kashim Shettima, Borno state governor, who visited the town to assess the devastation.
“The terrorists killed 37 people, including two young boys,” Mondama said.
The buildings burned by the fighters included eight mosques, four schools and a local government building.
Boko Haram has been driven out of nearly all the territory it captured by a series of offensives waged by Nigeria’s armed forces backed by soldiers from the neighbouring states of Chad, Niger and Cameroon in the past few months.
Thousands of people have been killed and several million displaced in a six-year Boko Haram campaign in Nigeria’s northeast to set up a state ruled by Islamic law.
Many of Boko Haram’s members are said to have retreated into northeastern Nigeria’s Sambisa forest.