The death toll from a suspected Boko Haram attack on a funeral gathering in northeastern Nigeria’s Borno state over the weekend reached 70 as of Monday.
Body count estimates varied by the news agency. Some of the victims likely succumbed to the injuries sustained during Saturday’s attack.
China’s state-run Xinhua news outlet learned from unnamed local sources that the jihadis killed 70 people, adding, “More bodies were recovered by rescue workers between Sunday and Monday morning. … Most of the bodies were found in the bush, having bullet wounds.”
“It is 65 people dead and 10 injured,” Muhammed Bulama, the chairman of the local government, told Al Jazeera.
Bulama argued that the heinous attack came in retaliation for the killing of 11 Boko Haram jihadis by the villagers two weeks ago, adding:
The villagers resisted the attack [two weeks ago], killed 11 insurgents and recovered 10 AK-47 rifles in the encounter. On Saturday at about 11:40am, the insurgents came on a reprisal mission, attacking mourners at a graveyard in the area.
The jihadis reportedly killed more than 20 people in the initial attack on the funeral. Dozens of others perished as they chased the terrorists. The terrorists reportedly set many of the homes ablaze consistent with previous attacks at the hands of the savage group.
Less than two months ago, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration falsely claimed again to have defeated Boko Haram. The Buhari administration has repeatedly made similar claims, only to have the group resurface and continue to terrorize Nigerians, primarily in Borno state.
Nigerian President Buhari condemned the attack and ordered the military to hunt down those responsible.
Maintaining that it has vanquished Boko Haram, the Buhari administration now claims the jihadis wreaking havoc in Nigeria belong to the Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP). The ISIS wing is a Boko Haram offshoot that allegedly broke away in 2016.
Although no specific group has claimed responsibility for Saturday’s attack, it bore the hallmarks of Boko Haram.
According to Al Jazeera, Boko Haram has killed about 27,000 people during its decade-long insurgency.
In its latest assessment of jihadis activities around the globe, the U.S. State Department deemed Boko Haram one of the top five deadliest terrorist groups in the world. Boko Haram killed 1,287 and injured 949 others in 2017.