Reports are circulating that the radical Islamist group Boko Haram is responsible for an attack on a village market in northeastern Nigeria on Monday that was kept out of the public eye until Wednesday. Different sources indicate that between 200-400 people have been killed, and eleven more girls have been kidnapped.
According to Haaretz, local papers are reporting that law enforcement has not yet finished counting the bodies of the dead, but that the count has surpassed 200, according to Abdulrahman Terab, a federal lawmaker from the target village, Gamborou. Boko Haram has reportedly raided the village’s biggest market, killing people, taking necessary goods, and burning vehicles before moving into the town itself and razing it.
Nigeria’s National Mirror reports that “at least 300” were killed in the attack, confirmed by Senator Ahmed Zannah, who represents the district in which Gamborou is located. According to Zannah, few homes in the village remain intact. The report alleges also that Zannah said the attackers were armed with a number of deadly weapons, “including Armored Personnel Carrier, APC, Improvised Explosive Devices, IEDs, petrol bombs, assault rifles and Rocket Propelled Launchers, RPGs.”
Vanguard, another Nigerian newspaper, reports that the attack was so destructive because Boko Haram appears to have misled Nigerian government search groups, keeping them away from the area. Security forces moved away after receiving a report that “some gunmen were sighted with abducted schoolgirls moving to the area.” As the nation is on high alert after Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau threatened to sell the more than two hundred girls abducted from Chibok, Borno, the government responded to the report rapidly, leaving Gamborou exposed. The attack is said to have lasted twelve hours.
The Daily Independent, based in Lagos, Nigeria, reported the story Tuesday–when the death count had just surpassed 100–and described the situation on the ground as a “killing orgy.” While unable to reach the head of police in Borno state, they received comment from an unnamed police source, who could only confirm that they were aware of the attack and “they say it was terrible.” One newspaper, the Osun Defender, cites the death toll as up to 400.
All reports agree that the actual death count will possibly not be known for days, as those taking charge to clean up the town pick up the bodies.
The attack is the latest in a string of increasingly bolder attacks from the terrorist group. In addition to the kidnapping of hundreds of girls from the town of Chibok, ostensibly for the purpose of selling the girls for $12, in a video, Shekau claimed responsibility for a bombing in the Nigerian capital of Abuja. He warned that his terror syndicate is not only operating in the Muslim-populated north, but it has intentions to conquer the whole country.