Boko Haram kill 'dozens' in NE Nigeria: locals

KANO, Nigeria (AFP) - Boko Haram gunmen on horseback killed dozens of people in a village in northeast Nigeria's Borno state near the border with Cameroon, local eyewitnesses said on Wednesday.

The incident took place on Monday morning in Fatawe village near Gwoza, where around 100 Boko Haram militants rounded up residents, tied their hands behind their backs then slit their throats, they said.

"They killed several dozens but I can't give a precise number because we have yet to go back and take a headcount of the dead" said Mr Amodu Kadir, a village resident who fled to Mubi village in neighbouring Adamawa state.

"The attackers who we have no doubt are Boko Haram gunmen came to the village around 10:30 am (0930GMT) and rounded up everyone including women and children after surrounding the village," he said.

"They fired several warning shots in the air before they began to tie the hands of adult males behind their back and slaughtered them while other residents watched in horror," he said.

Mr Kadir, whose father was among the victims, said the "macabre sight sent the terrified crowd fleeing in all directions in a frenzied effort to escape.

"But the attackers pursued us on their horses, shooting and trampling to death their victims," he said.

Mr Galadima Bubba, another resident who fled to the town of Michika, gave a similar account.

"The attackers killed many people in our village when they attacked on Monday. They slaughtered some, and shot and trampled those who tried to flee under the hooves of their horses," he said.

He said the village had ignored advice by Nigerian troops to relocate to Gwoza, eight kilometres away, after troops retook the town from Boko Haram forces in March.

News of the attack was slow to emerge due to the near absence of communication in the region following the earlier destruction of telecom towers by Boko Haram.

Boko Haram militants had seized Gwoza in July last year and made it into the headquarters of their so-called Caliphate.

The hardline Islamists have in recent weeks been raiding villages in northeast Borno state on horseback as Nigerian troops intensify their offensive against the insurgents.

Some 80 people were killed at the weekend in Boko Haram raids on three villages in the region, including at nearby Hambagda where seven Muslim worshippers were killed.

Attacks by Boko Haram, which seeks to impose a strict Islamic system in northern Nigeria, have killed at least 15,000 people and displaced 1.5 million since 2009.