Sunday, November 23, 2014 11:22 am
Boko Haram gunmen killed 48 fish vendors in a Nigerian village close to the border with Chad, the head of the fish traders association said Sunday. The fresh killings bring to 93, the victims killed in 48 hours, even as Nigeria’s president, Goodluck Jonathan claimed that the media are exaggerating the impact of the insurgency.
“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,” Abubakar Gamandi said, adding that the victims were killed without guns.
“The attackers killed their victims silently without the use of the gun to avoid attracting attention from the multi-national troops,” Gamandi said.
Gamadi said the insurgents set up a barricade at Dogon Fili, 15 kilometres (nine miles) from Doron Baga, and stopped a convoy of fish vendors around midday, slaughtering some of them and drowning others in the lake.
“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 told AFP by telephone from Maiduguri, the Borno state capital.
A day earlier, between 45 and 48 people were killed in what was being interpreted to be a Boko Haram reprisal attack on the village of Azara Kuya, also in Borno state.
The militants stormed the village in Wednesday’s attack to avenge four of their members who had wandered into the market but were identified and killed by soldiers in a gun fight, according to military sources.
The attack on Azaya Kura village occurred on a busy market day, Shettima Lawan, chairman of Mafa district council said by telephone.
“They slaughtered 45 people. They’ve been buried,” Lawan said. A resident of the village, who had escaped to Maiduguri, Mohammed bakura said, Boko Haram tied the hands of their victims behind their backs and slit their throats like animals.
Mafa district and Azaya Kura are located in an area near the Nigerian border with Cameroon which is mostly under the control of the Boko Haram, which is seeking to establish an Islamic caliphate in northern Nigeria.
Doron Baga, the village of the newer killings is 180 kilometres from Maiduguri. It is the base of the Multi-National Joint Task Force (MNJTF), comprising troops from Nigeria, Chad and Niger fighting the Islamist group.
The MNJTF was formed in 1998 to fight trans-border crime but its mandate was expanded to tame the Boko Haram insurgency in the volatile region.
A military officer in Maiduguri confirmed the attack but said details were sketchy.
News of the attack was slow to emerge due to the destruction of mobile phone towers in the area by Boko Haram in previous attacks.
Incessant Boko Haram attacks have disrupted fishing and farming along the shore of Lake Chad and fishermen from Doron Baga were forced to abandon fishing and turned to importing dried fish from neighbouring Chad.
Gamandi said the Dogon Fili route provided the safest passage for traders from Doron Baga to Chad as other routes are infested with Boko Haram gunmen who rob and kill travellers.
Last December at least seven fishermen were killed when Boko Haram Islamists attacked Doron Baga in a nocturnal raid that left many homes burnt.
In August, the Islamists raided Dogon Baga and kidnapped 97 people after killing 28 villagers.
The hostages, including women and children, were loaded on speed boats and ferried across the Lake into Chad.
Chadian troops rescued 85 of the hostages when they intercepted a convoy of buses transporting them from the shores.