Boko Haram militants have raided at least three villages in the Gombi region of Nigeria’s northeastern Adamawa State over the past few days, reportedly killing 27 people and burning down the villages, local eyewitnesses said Friday.
“The army has recovered many towns just as Boko Haram has also been attacking many towns too, especially over the past three or four days,” Baba Kura, a local resident who fled the violence in Garkida area of Gombi local council, told The Anadolu Agency.
“They burnt down three villages – Guyeku 1, Guyeku 2 and Garbala – to ashes. Even Garha area has repeatedly been attacked and more than 27 people were killed over the past three days, and the attacks continue,” he added.
Yahaya Sahidu, another resident who has escaped to Yola in the capital of Adamawa, said the raids on Garkida took place between Tuesday and Wednesday.
“At about 7pm on Tuesday, Garha was attacked by Boko Haram militants on motorbikes and 4×4 vehicle. At least nine elderly people were killed while many of us escaped with wounds,” according to Sahidu.
“Casualties were also recorded when Guyeku 1 and 2 were raided. They did not only kill people, but also stole food and robbed people,” he told AA, calling on the army to send reinforcements to the area.
According to Sahidu, militants fleeing from Sambisa area in Borno state and those flushed out from Madagali and Gulak in Adamawa are “inflicting punishment on the people in far-flung villages.”
Locals also spoke on militants threatening to disrupt Nigeria’s upcoming general elections, slated for March 28.
“They have told us to expect them to kill anyone who queue on the line to vote on election day,” Kura, in Gombi, told AA.
In Borno State, Reverend Enoch Mark, chairman of the abducted Chibok girls’ parent association, told AA on phone that people of the area are fleeing from their homes following threats of attack by militants.
“We people of Chibok are panicking. We are afraid. No security is provided. About 15km away, there is a town called Askira Uba which is under the insurgents,” he said.
At least 276 girls had been abducted from Chibok Government Girls Secondary School on April 14 of last year as they prepared for their examination. Only 57 of the girls had managed to escape their captors, while the remainders are supposedly still held by Boko Haram militants who have claimed responsibility for the incident.
Mark said that Boko Haram militants have openly threatened local residents of participating in the polls.
“They said they don’t want anybody to take part in the election. We are almost together with them, they come to our market and they keep threatening to attack anyone who takes part in the election. They are sending out the message intelligibly through the market and other points of gathering. So I’m afraid that Chibok may be attacked again,” he said.
“There is no security around there at all. The insurgents are not afraid of anything. They have told the people in Chibok they are coming again.”
On Thursday, Nigeria’s president Goodluck Jonathan said the girls “are still alive”, and pledged renewed commitment to rescuing them alive.
Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau had in a recent video threatened attacks to disrupt Nigeria’s upcoming polls on March 28, although the authorities have dismissed the threat as mirroring the group’s desperation.