Sunday, January 31, 2016 10:55 pm
A survivor hidden in a tree says he watched Boko Haram extremists firebomb huts and heard the screams of children burning to death, among 86 people officials say died in the latest attack by Nigeria’s homegrown Islamic extremists.
Some other estimates said over 100 people were killed.
Scores of charred corpses and bodies with bullet wounds littered the streets from Saturday night’s attack on Dalori village and two nearby camps housing 25,000 refugees, according to survivors and soldiers at the scene just 5 kilometers (3 miles) from Maiduguri, the birthplace of Boko Haram and the biggest city in Nigeria’s northeast.
The shooting, burning and explosions from three suicide bombers continued for nearly four hours in the unprotected area, survivor Alamin Bakura said, weeping on a telephone call to The Associated Press. He said several of his family members were killed or wounded.
The violence continued as three female suicide bombers blew up among people who managed to flee to neighboring Gamori village, killing many people, according to a soldier at the scene who insisted on anonymity because he is not authorized to speak to journalists.
Troops arrived at Dalori around 8:40 p.m. Saturday but were unable to overcome the attackers, who were better armed, said soldiers who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the press. The Boko Haram fighters only retreated after reinforcements arrived with heavier weapons, they said.
Journalists visited the carnage Sunday and spoke to survivors who complained it had taken too long for help to arrive from nearby Maiduguri, the military headquarters of the fight to curb Boko Haram. They said they fear another attack.
The Media Coordinator of Operation Lafiya Dole, Col. Mustpaha Anka in a statement said: “The insurgents came in Golf cars, motorcycles and started opening fire and burning houses. Their motives were to cause rancor and penetrate crowd with suicide bombers.
“While people were running for their dear lives to Gomari Kerkeri village, three female suicide bombers attempted to make their way into the crowd, but were intercepted and subsequently got blown up.”
He said during the 45-minute military “fierce repulsion” lives were also lost, while some people sustained various degrees of injuries, while fleeing the attacked village in the evening of Saturday.
Anka also disclosed that : “The insurgents also attempted to penetrate Dalori IDP camp, but it was resisted by the troops; which resulted into detonation of IEDs by the suicide bombers.
The Theatre Commander of Operation Lafiya Dole, Maj-Gen. Umaru Hassan condole the District Head of Dalori, Alhaji Lawal Bashir and his people over the attacks.
He assured the people that the Theatre Command was committed to bringing an end to Boko Haram insurgency in Borno state the Northeast sub-region of the country.
While commending the villagers for their resilience, he urged them to be strong and fully committed in the fight against insurgency and terrorism.
“I also commend the humanitarian assistance of the National and State Emergency Management Agencies (NEMA, SEMA), Nigerian Red Cross and other Stakeholders for their tireless humanitarian efforts of ‘rescuing and resettling’ displaced people in camps,” said Hassan in Maiduguri.
NEMA officials have also informed that they have screened some of the people that fled from the attacks before allowing them entry into the Dalori IDP camp.
Eighty-six bodies were collected by Sunday afternoon, according to Mohammed Kanar, area coordinator of the National Emergency Management Agency. Another 62 people are being treated for burns, said Abba Musa of the State Specialist Hospital in Maiduguri.
Boko Haram has been attacking soft targets, increasingly with suicide bombers, since the military last year drove them out of towns and villages in northeastern Nigeria.
The 6-year Islamic uprising has killed about 20,000 people and driven 2.5 million from their homes.