KANO, Nigeria (AFP) - At least 10 people were killed on Saturday in raids by suspected Boko Haram gunmen on two villages near the town of Chibok where Islamists abducted more than 200 girls in April, residents and local leaders said.
Military fighter jets dropped bombs on the insurgents, halting the attacks after nine hours, said Enoch Mark, a Christian priest in Chibok, some 11km from the attacked villages.
“We have picked up 10 corpses with bullet wounds” in the bush outside the villages of Kwaranglum and Tsaha, he said.
The gunmen wearing military uniforms stormed the villages early Saturday, razing them and shooting residents as they tried to flee, Mark said.
Smoke from the direction of the two villages could be seen from Chibok, said Mark, whose daughter and niece were among the schoolgirls abducted in Chibok on April 14.
Boko Haram fighters kidnapped 276 girls from Chibok. A total of 219 are still missing.
The schoolgirls’ abduction from their dormitory in the remote town triggered global outrage and condemnation.
The gunmen, aboard all-terrain vehicles and motorcycles, arrived in Kwaranglum around 7am, firing indiscriminately and torching homes, according to resident Daniel Haruna, who fled to Chibok.
The attacks were in apparent reprisal for the killing of eight Boko Haram fighters by a local vigilante in Kwaranglum on Tuesday, Haruna said.
Despite being fired on by the gunmen, some of the victims managed to trek a considerable distance from the two neighbouring villages, Mark said.
“Many bodies are scattered in the bush because the gunmen went after people who ran into the bush and shot them dead,” Haruna said.
The attacks were brought to a halt by the deployment of the fighter jets that dropped bombs on the insurgents, Mark said.
“We saw the fighter jet which came around 4pm and dropped bombs on the Boko Haram gunmen. We heard eight huge explosions,” Mark said in an account supported by Haruna.
The vigilantes said on Tuesday they had killed eight suspected Boko Haram militants who attacked the village near Chibok, burning several homes and stealing food.
As the assailants tried to flee, vigilante members opened fire on them, killing eight. One was arrested and the rest fled, said Adamsi Tar, the local vigilante leader.
Earlier this week, some Chibok residents claimed that Boko Haram wrote a letter threatening to launch a fresh attack on the town in Borno state.
The police in Borno denied knowledge of the letter.
Suspected Boko Haram gunmen on Thursday killed 10 people in raids on five villages in northeast Adamawa state, a local official said Friday.
Scores of gunmen wearing military uniforms stormed the villages of Imirsa, Shuwari, Yaza, Humabza and Anguwar Shuwa, burning homes and looting food supplies, he told AFP.
The sect is also suspected of carrying out a deadly bomb attack late Tuesday against football fans watching the World Cup in the northern city of Damaturu, capital of Yobe state, killing at least 21 people, in the latest violence targeting the game.
Boko Haram’s brutal five-year insurgency has claimed thousands of lives.