Islamic terror group Boko Haram massacred a village on Tuesday in Nigeria’s northeastern Borno State killing at least 81 people, German broadcaster Deutsche Welle (DW) reported.
Borno State Governor Babagana Zulum confirmed the attack on Foduma Kolomaiya village in the Gubio area of Borno State on Wednesday after visiting the community and speaking to local residents.
Rabiu Isa, a member of a local Gubio area defense force, described Tuesday’s overnight ambush: “They came on motorcycles and vehicles and killed people at will in an attack that lasted more than two hours. In all, we counted 69 corpses but the death toll may be higher because some people are still missing.”
According to the report, Governor Zulum raised the death toll to 81 on Wednesday after interviewing survivors of the attack. He said that after speaking with locals he learned that seven people, including the leader of the village, were kidnapped by Boko Haram.
“This is barbaric,” Zulum told the Associated Press (AP) of the massacre.
Malam Bunu, the leader of a Gubio defense group, told the AP that the terrorists returned Wednesday morning to finish off a local herdsman who had originally escaped the attack on Tuesday night.
“Then [Boko Haram] set the entire village ablaze before they left. As I am talking to you now, the village is still smoking,” Bunu said on Wednesday.
Bunu said he believed Tuesday’s razing of Foduma Kolomaiya was an act of retaliation for the death of two Boko Haram terrorists “whom the villagers managed to kill when the insurgents attempted to attack them about two months ago.”
Gubio is located about 62 miles northwest of Maiduguri, the capital of Borno State. As Boko Haram’s stronghold, Borno State has endured countless attacks over the years by the terrorists. According to DW, Gubio residents are primarily animal herders who have managed to resist Boko Haram’s aggression in recent years.
Malam Bunu said that the terrorist group later stole 1,200 cattle from local herders following Tuesday night’s attack. Boko Haram often forces local villagers in Borno State to pay illegal taxes for their own livestock and agricultural goods. Until now, Bunu said, villagers in Gubio had been able to resist the extortion.
Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari released a statement through his spokesperson on Wednesday condemning the attack, Nigeria’s Premium Times reported.
“He [Buhari] is deeply shocked by the brutal killing of tens of people by the Boko Haram/Islam in West Africa Province (ISWAP) in Gubio village, Borno State,” the statement read, adding that the president was “particularly shocked” by the “primordial nature of the killings” because it happened “not long after the Ramadan and Eid [Islamic holidays], and [as] the country is preparing to celebrate [Nigeria’s] Democracy Day.”
According to the statement, Buhari has ordered Nigeria’s armed forces “to extract a heavy price from the attackers, and bring back all those they kidnapped as well as a large number of cattle rustled.”
Boko Haram has used the restrictions on movement imposed during the coronavirus pandemic to mount a deadly resurgence in the Lake Chad area in recent months. On March 22, Boko Haram attacked an army base on the Boma Peninsula, along the border with Nigeria and Niger, killing at least 92 Chadian soldiers in the single deadliest attack on Chad’s military. Then, on March 23, Boko Haram massacred an entire Nigerian artillery unit in an ambush near northern Nigeria’s Yobe State.
According to U.N. estimates, Boko Haram has killed at least 36,000 people in northeastern Nigeria since 2009, displacing roughly two million more. Regional authorities have failed to significantly counter Boko Haram’s ongoing jihadist campaign.