Nigerian Boko Haram jihadists killed at least 30 people before abducting women and children in a raid in north-eastern Nigeria this weekend, a regional government spokesman announced on Monday.
The attack was carried out in Auno village, Borno State, around 20 kilometers from the regional capital of Maiduguri at around 22:00 on Sunday evening. Most of the victims are believed to have died when militants set fire to travelers sleeping in their cars.
“Many of the drivers and their assistants who were sleeping the vehicles were burnt alive,” civilian militia fighter Babakura Kolo told AFP, adding that they combed also stormed the local village, looting, and burning shops and property, before abducting numerous women and children and then fleeing the scene.
PHOTOS: Boko Haram kills 30, kidnap children, burn vehicles in Borno pic.twitter.com/lolXIBLRu2
— The Punch Newspapers (@MobilePunch) February 10, 2020
News of the attack was confirmed by state spokesperson Ahmad Abdurrahman Bundi, who said that the jihadists ambushed the scene trucks mounted with heavy weapons. They then proceeded to murder, burning and looting their victims.
“The attackers killed not less than 30 people who are mostly motorists and destroyed 18 vehicles,” Bundi said in a statement after visiting the scene.
Harrowing images from after the attack showed charred bodies lying beside their vehicles, including a pregnant mother and her young child. “They burn everywhere. The fire was still on till this morning,” one local resident told CNN. We are still looking for many people around here.”
Boko Haram has waged a brutal insurgency across Nigeria for over ten years, killing around 35,000, many of whom are targeted for being Christian or showing insufficient loyal to Islam. A report from the United Nations found that around 1.2 million Nigerians are still living in areas controlled by the caliphate, while a further two million have been displaced.
The slaughter & burning of at least 30 commuters by Boko Haram at Auno village is vicious, and yet another demonstration of the group’s disregard for the sanctity of human life. This cruel attack, whose casualties include women & children in their sleep, must not go unpunished. pic.twitter.com/J5Mqj1g1VI
— Amnesty Int. Nigeria (@AmnestyNigeria) February 11, 2020
The attack came barely three days after the Theatre Commander of Operation Lafiya Dole, Major General Olusegun Adeniyi, repeated the false claim that the Nigerian military had defeated the terror group, despite the fact that such horrific terror attacks remain a common occurrence.
“There is no inch of the Nigerian territory that is under the control of the Boko Haram insurgents. Since 2017, the army has technically defeated the Boko Haram terrorists and we have succeeded in taking over the areas captured from Boko Haram insurgents,” Gen. Adeniyi told journalists last at a press conference last Friday.
Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari, who has also repeatedly exaggerated the success of his military operations, told an African Union’s security council meeting in Addis Ababa on Monday that his government was working to secure the release of the group’s hostages.
“A number of school girls from Chibok and Dapchi earlier abducted by Boko Haram have regained their freedom,” he said. “We commend the gallant efforts of the MultiNational Joint Task Force and the partners in supporting the reintegration of the girls.”
“Let me categorically reassure you of the steadfast commitment of the Government of Nigeria to ensure the freedom of all kidnapped children from the shackles of Boko Haram,” he continued.