Boko Haram terrorists have killed 30 people and abducted many women and children in a raid in Borno State, even as President Muhammadu Buhari described the attack as ‘cowardly and murderous.’
The terrorists sacked the village of Auno on a key highway, linking the capital, Maiduguri.
However, President Muhammadu Buhari has condemned the ‘cowardly and murderous attack by Boko Haram.
He commiserated with family of victims of the attack, assuring them that his administration would continually frustrate the devilish operations of Boko Haram, and bring it to an end.
Buhari, in a statement issued by his spokesman, Garba Shehu condemned the “murderous and cowardly attack on innocent passengers by the Boko Haram terrorists near Maiduguri’’, adding: “this administration is ever determined to frustrate their goal to hold Nigeria to ransom’’.
“The commitment of this administration to protect the lives of Nigerians will not be derailed by the cowardly and indiscriminate violence against innocent people by Boko Haram terrorists,’’ he said, while reacting to recent attacks in Maiduguri.
Buhari, who also condoled with the government of the state, warns “that terrorists are clearly on a back foot and their days are numbered’’.
“As our armed forces continue to receive more hardware and intelligence to counter our current security challenges, the remnants of Boko Haram will ultimately be crushed. The peculiar challenges of asymmetric warfare notwithstanding, our armed forces are ever determined to defeat these enemies of humanity,’’ Buhari said.
The jihadists had stormed the village on trucks mounted with heavy weapons, killing, burning and looting before kidnapping women and children, state government spokesman Ahmad Abdurrahman Bundi told AFP.
They aimed at travellers who had stopped for the night and torched vehicles.
The attackers “killed not less than 30 people who are mostly motorists and destroyed 18 vehicles,” Bundi said in a statement after visiting the scene.
The attack, some 25 kilometres (15 miles) west of Maiduguri, occurred in an area where fighters from the Islamic State West Africa Province have been active, mounting roadblocks to target security forces and civilians.
Witnesses said jihadists set alight 30 vehicles in the raid, including trucks that had stopped overnight on their way to Maiduguri.
“Many of the drivers and their assistants who were sleeping in the vehicles were burnt alive,” civilian militia fighter, Babakura Kolo told AFP.
The jihadists combed through the village, looting and burning shops and property before withdrawing, he said.
Auno lies on the 120-kilometre highway linking Maiduguri to Damaturu, a major regional city in neighbouring Yobe state.
The highway has been increasingly targeted by ISWAP militants in recent months.
The surge has followed the creation of so-called “super camps” by the Nigerian military in the northeast – a strategy under which small army camps have withdrawn from several areas and combined into fewer, larger bases.
Last month four Nigerian soldiers were killed and seven injured when the jihadists attacked troops positioned in Auno.
The decade-long Islamist insurgency has killed 36,000 people and displaced around two million from their homes in northeast Nigeria.