Boko Haram militants have unleashed another torrent of violence in northeast Nigeria, killing 79 people in three recent attacks there, residents and local militia said.
In the first and deadliest attack late Friday, gunmen entered the village of Baanu — about 50 miles (80 kilometres) north of Maiduguri, the capital of Borno state — and shot dead 68 people.
The gunmen seemingly shot indiscriminately, spurring survivors to run for their lives into the bush, according to residents and vigilantes, who are local militia assisting the Nigerian military in going after Boko Haram.
The next attack happened around 2 p.m. on Saturday in Hambagda village in Borno state’s Gwoza district, 80 miles from Maiduguri and a few miles from Boko Haram’s de facto capital.
Militants, again on horseback, unloaded on worshipers at a mosque — leaving seven dead and five more wounded, locals and militia leaders said.
Another attack about five hours later in in the village of Karnuwa, which is close to Baanu, resulted in the deaths of the village’s imam, his son and two neighbors.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility for any of the bloodshed.
Locals were quick to point the finger at Boko Haram, a militant group tied to a large number of horrific incidents in recent years in Borno and surrounding states.
Boko Haram’s stated aim is to impose a strict enforcement of Sharia law across Nigeria, which is split between a majority Muslim north and a mostly Christian south.