On Tuesday, Boko Haram Islamists disguised in military uniforms killed at least 87 civilians. “Heavy weapons” were used in the attack including anti-aircraft missiles, more are expected dead. The insurgents set up checkpoints throughout Nigeria’s north-eastern Borno state and killed anyone who attempted to leave, they also burned dozens of homes and buildings. The Boko Haram is fighting to create an Islamic state in Northern Nigeria and recently they have been focusing their attacks on civilians.
The Telegraph reported:
“They came in droves, driving about 20 pickup trucks,” said a security source stationed in the town who requested anonymity.
He said the insurgents were armed with “anti-aircraft guns”, in the latest indication that Boko Haram has bolstered its arsenal in recent months.
Mallam Isa Manu, a motorist who escaped unhurt, told journalists in the Borno state capital Maiduguri on Wednesday that the Islamists wore “military uniforms”, a tactic the insurgents have used previously.
According to army General Mohammed Yusuf, who also briefed the governor, troops ran out of ammunition while combating the assault.
Shettima described the attack as “barbaric and un-Islamic,” and pledged financial aid to the victims of Boko Haram’s latest slaughter.
The motivation behind the attack was not immediately clear, but Boko Haram members have repeatedly carried out revenge attacks against residents over the emergence of vigilante groups that have formed to assist the military.
Residents said the attackers singled out people from Borno, while letting people from other regions pass through checkpoints.
Benisheik was also the scene of deadly clashes on September 8 between suspected Boko Haram gunmen and vigilantes.
The insurgents say they are fighting to create an Islamic state in Nigeria’s mainly Muslim north, but their aims have repeatedly shifted and much of their violence has largely targeted defenceless civilians.