Boko Haram militants have killed at least 43 people in a five-hour assault on the town of Gubio in Borno State, witnesses told Reuters on Tuesday.
Thousands of people have been killed and several millions displaced in a six-year Boko Haram insurgency that once saw the group control an area the size of Belgium. But the Islamist insurgents have since lost most of their gains to military counter-offensives.
The latest attack, which a military source said involved a convoy of around 50 Boko Haram members storming Gubio, lasted for around five hours on Saturday afternoon and ended about 9.30 p.m., local resident Mallam Yusuf Mohammed said.
Details of such attacks often take a number of days to surface outside of the affected areas due to poor telecommunications in the area.
Mohammed estimated that more than 400 houses had been burnt by the insurgents.
“They came, shooting, threatening to kill everybody. They set fire on many houses, burnt down our peoples’ vehicles and motorcycles. We lost 43 people including two children,” Abubakar Mondama, leader of a local vigilante group, told journalists.
Boko Haram has been driven out of nearly all the territory it captured by a series of offensives waged by Nigeria’s armed forces backed by those from the neighbouring states of Chad, Niger and Cameroon in the past few months. Remaining militants have retreated into the Sambisa Forest.