A raid by Boko Haram insurgents in northeast Nigeria has killed at least 37 people, reports say.
Earlier today, government-aligned vigilantes reported that Boko Haram fighters had attacked a group of villages in Borno state, northeastern Nigeria. It is claimed that on Wednesday night they raided six villages near Maiduguri, not far from Boko Haram’s stronghold in Sambisa forest. The insurgents are said to have killed at least 37 people and burned the villages to the ground.
Ahmed Ajimi, from the anti-Boko Haram Nigerian Vigilante Group, told The Associated Press the majority of the victims were farmers who had just returned to the area. Boko Haram had driven them out earlier in the year in its attempt to form an Islamic caliphate in the region. Now, Ajimi says, many of them have been killed and the remainder are refugees again.
Reports suggest the islamists drove into the villages on motorbikes and pick-up trucks, firing into the houses. They threw firebombs, quickly igniting the thatched rooves of many buildings.
Government-aligned vigilantes reported the attack only a day after President Muhammadu Buhari organised a summit of regional leaders, which aimed to prepare a joint military taskforce to tackle the Boko Haram insurgency. Delegates at the summit agreed a Nigerian general would head the task force, with a Cameroonian deputy and a Chadian chief of staff. The summit also saw Nigeria pledging a further $30 million to the task force, and the delegates agreeing to increase its size to 8,500 troops.