By Yemi Adebowale
Boko Haram fighters killed 13 people in an attack on Malari village in northeast Nigeria’s restive Borno state early Sunday, witnesses said.
Local farmer Moha Saleh said 27 people, including women and children, were also injured in the attack, which began when the Islamist militants stormed the village at around 1:00 am.
“They also set many houses ablaze after accusing us of telling soldiers their whereabouts,”
Local resident Goni Musa, a vigilante who fights against Boko Haram alongside the Nigerian military, gave the same death toll.
“They burnt down houses and shops before they left, yelling ‘Allahu Akbar’. Our terrorised women and children fled into the bush and returned to Maiduguri this morning,” he added.
Maiduguri, the biggest town in northeast Nigeria, is some 20 kilometres (12 miles) north of Malari.
“This morning 13 bodies were recovered, some had been shot in the back, which means they were fleeing when the terrorists killed them,” Musa said.
State police commissioner Aderemi Opadokun confirmed the attack but gave a lower toll.
“The attackers burnt down some houses and killed seven persons in the village situated along Konduga-Maiduguri road,” Opadokun told reporters in Maiduguri.
Malari has been the target of numerous attacks in recent months, including a suicide bombing by a youth in a mosque in the middle of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan in July which left 12 people dead.
The group’s bloody insurgency in Nigeria alone has left more than 15,000 people dead since 2009. In recent months, the group has increasingly expanded its operations into neighboring countries.