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Boko Haram kills seven in Christmas Eve attack

Oluwaseye Ogunsanya December 25, 2020 22


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At least seven people were killed by the Boko Haram in a Christmas Eve assault on a village in Nigeria’s turbulent northeast, local sources told AFP Friday.

In recent days security agencies had warned of an increased risk of attack during the Christmas holiday.

Fighters in trucks and motorcycles on Thursday stormed Pemi, a predominantly Christian village in Borno state, shooting “indiscriminately” and setting buildings on fire, said Abwaku Kabu, a militia leader.

In many parts of Nigeria, communities subscribed to self-defence to armed vigilantes or militias, who work with the army.

“The terrorists killed seven people, burnt 10 homes and looted food supplies that were meant to be distributed to residents to celebrate Christmas,” Kabu said.

A local community leader Ayuba Alamson said on Friday morning, a body was found raising the number of dead to seven.

The toll could increase as villagers fled into the bush during the attack and some people are still unaccounted for.

According to the militia leader, the assailants drove from the group’s nearby Sambisa forest enclave and looted medical supplies from a hospital before setting it ablaze, he also added that they burnt a church and abducted a priest.

The village is located only 20 kilometres (12 miles) from Chibok, where Boko Haram kidnapped more than 200 schoolgirls six years ago.

In a separate attack on Thursday, residents told AFP that gunmen attacked another Christian community in Garkida, in neighbouring Adamawa state, looting drug stores and food supplies before torching homes.

There were no reports of casualties from that attack however.

On Tusday the Department of State Services (DSS) had issued a warning about planned attacks.

The DSS asked Nigerians “to be extra vigilant and report strange movements” while assuring that it was “collaborating with other sister agencies to ensure that adequate measures are put in place for the protection of lives and property.”

President Muhammadu Buhari in his Christmas message on Thursday “reiterated the promise of his administration to remain unyielding in confronting the Boko Haram insurgency as well as other forms of criminality.”

“For me, providing security for all residents in the country remains an article of faith,” Buhari said

The 78-year-old urged citizens to volunteer “intelligence/information on activities of armed bandits, insurgents and other criminal elements within their communities in order to put an end to this blight.”

The decade-long conflict in Nigeria’s northeast has killed 36,000 people and displaced around two million from their homes, according to the United Nations.

Violence has spread to neighbouring Niger, Chad and Cameroon, prompting regional countries to form a military coalition to fight the jihadist groups.

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