Maiduguri — The Joint Task Force (JTF) in Borno State said five people were killed when gunmen sneaked into a village located on the outskirt of Maiduguri and killed five people including a serving Nigerian Police traffic warden.
But sources told Weekly Trust that at least 18 people were killed in the attacks which were carried out in Telari and Musari villages on the outskirts of Maiduguri.
Spokesman of the JTF, Lt Col Sagir Musa said in a statement yesterday that five people were killed, adding that "information available to the JTF Operation Restore Order indicated that unknown gunmen sneaked into Musari Community - a village located on the outskirt of Maiduguri and secretly carried out selective killings of five people including a serving Nigerian Police Traffic Warden. The incident happened in the early hours of today, between 1 -3 am.
"The Joint Task Force troops that responded to a distressed call came, arrested three suspected assailants and recovered one AK 47 Rifle with ten rounds of 7.62mm ammunition. Investigation has since commenced and the operation to apprehend fleeing members of the gang is ongoing.
"The Task Force wishes to once again remind members of the public to pass any credible information to the JTF through the under listed Hot Lines that are operational 24/7; 080-64174066, 070-85464012, 081-54429346" the statement said.
But the villagers said at least 18 people including a man and two of his children when about 12 assailants, armed with guns, knives and other dangerous weapons stormed Telari village around 1am where they killed an aged man and two of his male children.
"After eliminating their targets, the attackers proceeded to Musari, another settlement which is not more than five kilometers from Baga Market in Maiduguri where they killed 15 people," a local who lives in Telari said.
He said all the victims were carefully selected and executed. Another man was lucky because he was breathing when security operatives arrived and took him to hospital, he said.
Another resident of Musari said the attackers moved from one house to another and killed their targets.
"They (attackers) carried the heinous act in commando style, because nobody noticed their movement...there was no electricity and no moonlight," the villager said.
He said the attackers deliberately refused to use their guns in order not to attract soldiers from the nearby Maimalari Barracks along Baga road.
"We only heard families of the victims screaming, wailing and crying, calling for help which was not forthcoming," the villager said.
Some aid workers and security operatives who participated in evacuating the corpses said the two settlements were awash with blood.
"It was a gory scene. I have never seen something like this because the victims were slaughtered," one of them said.
Weekly Trust reports that dozens of people, including policemen, SSS and Civil Defence operatives, Immigration and Customs men have relocated to settlements on the outskirts of Maiduguri after the killings of their colleagues in Maiduguri town in the last one year.
Yesterday's attacks came less than 12 hours when Alhaji Abubakar Girgir, a business mogul and five other people were killed in Maiduguri.
Observers say the insurgents are becoming more audacious, going by the manner they are targeting and eliminating anybody they want.
"It is unimaginable to say that gunmen can enter a market in the heart of the city, kill and sneak away without a trace," Musa Ali, a trader in Maiduguri observed.