MAIDUGURI, Nigeria (Reuters) - At least 45 people were killed by suspected Boko Haram militants at dawn on Tuesday in a remote village of Nigeria’s northeastern Borno state, military sources and authorized vigilante groups told Reuters.
The insurgents started shooting into houses in Njaba at about 5:30 a.m. (0430 GMT), a military source in Maiduguri said on Thursday. The village is close to the town of Damboa and about 100 km (60 miles) south of state capital Maiduguri.
“The attack was not immediately known because the village is very remote and our men couldn’t access the area,” the source said.
The army also repelled an attack on Tuesday on the town of Konduga, southeast of Maiduguri in Borno, a military source and residents said. No death toll could be ascertained.
On Thursday evening, the army also pushed back an attack on the town of Ngamdu, on the road to Damaturu, capital of neighboring Yobe state, two military sources said. It was too early to determine the number of casualties, they added.
Boko Haram’s six-year insurgency to carve out an Islamic state in the northeast of Nigeria has killed thousands and displaced over 1.5 million people.
The group gained worldwide notoriety in April 2014 after its members kidnapped over 200 schoolgirls from the town of Chibok in Borno state, the heartland of Boko Haram.
The slow government response sparked the movement Bring Back Our Girls that has been seeking international support and lobbying the government to keep up the search. On Thursday, a representative for President Goodluck met the girls’ families in Maiduguri.
“As you are all aware ,our military is having the upper hand in this sacred war. We believe by the grace of God that your children will return safely,” the minister of state for power Mohammed Wakil told them.
Boko Haram seized territory the size of Belgium last year, which Nigeria’s ill-equipped army has struggled to take back. Jonathan, who is seeking re-election on March 28, has been heavily criticized for the failure to crush the insurgents.
Elections were postponed for six weeks from Feb. 14 for security reasons. Since the delay, Chadian troops cooperating with the Nigerians have reclaimed some important towns in Borno. The army has also been able to push the militants out of some territories in neighboring Adamawa and Yobe states.
A senior local government official in Damboa about 20 km from Njaba, who declined to be named, said that most of the victims were teenagers.
Aditional reporting by Ardo Abdullah in Bauchi, Writing by Julia Payne; Editing by Tom Heneghan