Suspected militants kill 15 in Nigerian attacks

Sunday 29 June 2014 22.20
Nigerian supporters at the World Cup in Brazil calling for the return of over 200 schoolgirls kidnapped by Boko Haram
Nigerian supporters at the World Cup in Brazil calling for the return of over 200 schoolgirls kidnapped by Boko Haram

Suspected Islamist militants have killed at least 15 people in an attack on two Nigerian villages, including one targeting worshippers at a church, a few kilometres from Chibok, the scene of a mass abduction of more than 200 school girls.

Violence in Nigeria's northeast has been relentless in the past year, and has gained in intensity since April, when more than 200 schoolgirls were snatched by Boko Haram rebels from Chibok. Efforts to free them, which have attracted Western support, have so far not succeeded.

In a separate assault on Friday evening, insurgents killed seven soldiers in the village of Goniri, in Yobe state, a security source and witnesses said.

The attackers on Sunday made simultaneous strikes on two villages in the Chibok community, in Borno state.

Samuel Chibok, a survivor of the attack on Kautikiri village, about five kilometres from where the girls were snatched, said that around 20 men in a Toyota pick-up truck and motorcycles rolled into town. They sprayed it with bullets, focusing much of their fire power on panicked worshippers in a local church.

"Initially I thought they were military but when I came out, they were firing at people. I saw people fleeing and they burned our houses," he said, adding that some people had died in the attack, including two of his relatives.

A local pro-government vigilante, who declined to be named, said residents had now recovered 15 bodies from the village.

Boko Haram often attacks institutions it sees as against its strict version of Sunni Islam, including churches, bars and non-religious schools that teach Western ideas like science.

Another attack on Kwada, eight kilometres from Chibok village, left some people dead, a security source operating in the area said, although the toll was not yet clear.

Boko Haram, which is fighting for an Islamic state in largely Muslim northern Nigeria, has killed thousands since launching an uprising on 2009, and many hundreds in the past three months.