Abuja — "It was their shooting that actually woke us up; it was about 3 a.m. when we began to hear distant shootings and explosions."
About 48 persons were killed in separate attacks on villages around Borno State as the Boko Haram sustained renewed hostilities on isolated communities, security operatives and witnesses said.
Gunmen had in the early hours of Wednesday, at about 4 a.m. attacked Alagarno and Bulakurbe Village in Askira-Uba Local Government Area killing 18 persons and injuring several others, according to accounts of local vigilante officials. Majority of the houses in the villages were also razed.
A senior security operative in Maiduguri who spoke off the record because he is not allowed to speak to journalists on the issue confirmed the incident.
Fleeing residents of the attacked villages said the attackers stormed the villages while they were asleep.
"It was their shooting that actually woke us up; it was about 3 a.m. when we began to hear distant shootings and explosions so we had to scamper out of our houses and flee into the bush," said Apagu Maidugu, a resident of Alagarno. "We saw our village up in flames as we hid in the bush waiting for the dawn; we lost everything".
The Alagarno and Bulakurbe incident occurred barely 24 hours after some gunmen attacked another village in Damboa Local Government Area called Shawa where about 30 persons were killed and many others injured.
A resident of Shawa Village who managed to escaped the attack said the attackers continued to chant "Allahu akbar" (God is great) while shooting sporadically.
"It happened at about 4 a.m., when we began to hear the sounds of vehicles, then it was followed by shooting of guns; we immediately knew we were in trouble", said Musa Yakubu, a resident of the village, who spoke on phone from Biu, where he said he ran to during the attack.
A spokesman of the vigilante group called civilian JTF, Muhammed Gava, who also confirmed the Shawa incident to PREMIUM TIMES said the gunmen, apart from killing 30 people, also set many houses ablaze, including 100 bags of maize and another 50 bags of millet stored for sale in the coming market days.
"They went away with many goats and rams belonging to our people.
"Our men in Damboa had visited the village in the morning and reported to us that the village which is close to Kilakisa community along Biu-Maiduguri highway had been deserted; and they had to help gather the corpses for burial", the vigilante spokesperson said.