Hundreds of people have been found dead in the northeastern Nigerian town of Damasak who are believed to be victims of Boko Haram’s insurgency in the region, as details emerged on Monday of fresh attacks by the militants.
“Bodies were found in houses, streets and many more in the Damasak river which has dried up,” said local resident Kaumi Kusur, adding the victims were buried in 20 mass graves at the weekend.
Reports of decomposing bodies scattered over the streets of Damasak came as Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari said “The fraud called Boko Haram can be defeated by denying it a recruitment base.
No religion allows for the killing of children in school dormitories, in markets and places of worship, they have nothing to do with religion. They are terrorists and we are going to deal with them as we deal with terrorists."
North-east Nigeria has been relentlessly targeted throughout the jihadists’ six-year uprising but there had been a lull in violence in recent weeks.
A coalition of troops from Chad, Cameroon, Niger and Nigeria has claimed major victories since February, reportedly flushing the militants out of areas they previously controlled.
Since then, Boko Haram changed its strategy from taking hostages to hit-run attacks which have included mass murders of civilians in Nigeria. Authorities have warned people travelling in areas where Boko Haram maintains a presence.
“On Friday, suspected Boko Haram fighters disguised as soldiers intercepted a group of people trying to return to their homes to collect abandoned food supplies in northeastern Yobe state.
The men, 21 of them, were stopped at Bultaram [village] by gunmen we believe are Boko Haram - who shot them dead,” said Baba Nuhu, an official with the Gujba local government.
According to AFP analysts, Nigeria and other countries fighting against Boko Haram should not think that they have been victorious yet since Boko Haram is far from being defeated and can easily regroup, especially if there is a slacking in military pressure on the group.