In the second major massacre in two days, Boko Haram radicals have killed as many as 50 fish vendors in Nigeria’s northern Borno State.
“Scores of Boko Haram fighters blocked a route linking Nigeria with Chad near the fishing village of Doron Baga on the shores of Lake Chad on Thursday and killed a group of 48 fish traders on their way to Chad to buy fish,” according to Abubakar Gamandi, the head of the fish traders association.
Though the violence occurred on Thursday, news of the attack took days to arrive due to the destruction of mobile phone towers in the area by Boko Haram in previous attacks.
Gamandi said the insurgents set up a barricade just over 9 miles from Doron Baga, and stopped a convoy of fish vendors, slaughtering some of them and drowning others in the lake.
He claimed that though the attackers were armed, they killed all of their victims without using their guns. “The attackers killed their victims silently without the use of the gun to avoid attracting attention from the multinational troops,” Gamandi said.
“The Boko Haram gunmen slit the throats of some of the men and tied the hands and legs of the others before throwing them into the lake to drown,” Gamandi reported.
Motives for Thursday’s attack are still unclear.
Just last Wednesday, Boko Haram gunmen stormed through the village of Azaya Kura, also in Borno state, killing at least 45 people. In this year alone, Boko Haram has killed some 2,000 civilians.
The style of this attack was very similar to Thursday’s. In both cases, victims’ hands were tied behind their backs and their throats were slit. This attack was apparently an act of revenge, since the community had identified four Boko Haram members to army soldiers, who shot them dead.
Repeated attacks from Boko Haram have disrupted fishing and farming along the shore of Lake Chad and locals from Doron Baga have been forced to abandon fishing and turn to importing dried fish from neighboring Chad.
Last December Boko Haram Islamists attacked Doron Baga during the night leaving at least seven fishermen dead and many homes burnt to the ground. In August, insurgents again raided Dogon Baga, kidnapping 97 people and slaughtering 28 villagers. The hostages, who included women and children, were loaded onto speed boats and taken across the Lake into Chad.