Maiduguri — At least 15 persons were killed in four villages in Borno State between Wednesday night and yesterday by gunmen believed to be members of the Boko Haram terrorist group.
The insurgents also killed an Islamic cleric and four members of his family in one of the four villages attacked.
They also drove the military and other security operatives away and entered an internally displaced persons (IDPs) camp, razing part of it and killing two occupants.
A member of the youth vigilance group who spoke with THISDAY, said the Imam (Islamic cleric) with four members of his family were lynched by the insurgents who attacked their community, Kofa, in the outskirts of Maiduguri.
He said also killed in the attacks were 10 other persons in the four neighbouring communities and an IDP camp in Dalori.
The vigilance group member said 15 persons were on Wednesday night killed when the terrorists attacked several villages in Konduga Local Government Area of the state.
He said the Imam and family refused to flee their village, Kofa, when the insurgents ran berserk.
He added that they were captured and razed with all their belongings, with the insurgents watching to see that they did not escape.
The vigilance group member also lamented that a yet-to-be-known number of persons might have drowned in the river as they dived into it out of fear of been killed.
He lamented that security operatives on the ground were overpowered and outnumbered as over 200 insurgents reportedly came down hard on them.
However, the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) confirmed that the insurgents killed eight persons in a siege to an IDPs camp and four communities in the outskirts of Maiduguri, the state capital.
The villages lie on the outskirts of the heavily militarised state's capital city, which serves as the seat of efforts to defeat Boko Haram and the Islamic State in West Africa (ISWA).
The terrorist group, according to residents, attacked the villages, Kofa, Mallumti, Ngomari and Gozari at 8p.m. on Wednesday.
The villages are on Bama Road and not far away from Sambisa forest, which was once occupied by the terrorist group.
Confirming the attack to journalists Thursday, the North-east Zonal Coordinator of NEMA, Alhaji Bashir Garga, in a statement said, "Six people from Kofa village were killed by suspected Boko Haram terrorists that attacked four villages in the outskirts of Maiduguri, the Borno State capital."
He listed other affected villages as Mallumti, Ngomari, Gozari, all in the vicinity of Dalori internally displaced persons camp.
Garga said the attack led to many villagers fleeing to the Dalori IDP camp for safety.
He said the terrorists followed them up and killed two IDPs, which increased the number of people killed to eight.
He said, "Many villagers fled to the Dalori IDPs camp, which led to an attack on the camp vicinity that claimed the lives of two IDPs making a total of eight people dead."
Garga revealed that "the terrorists gained access to the area through a bush path behind the villages and came in four vehicles and some motorcycles. They ransacked the market in front of the IDP camp."
He said the villagers, who ran into the bush for safety, had returned back to their homes, while the Borno State Fire Service had contained the inferno.
He also said the injured have been treated in the camp clinic, with serious cases evacuated to hospitals in Maiduguri.
The NEMA boss said an assessment team had gone to the site to provide relief assistance to those affected by the attack.