Nigerians citizens are reporting that members of the militant group Boko Haram have killed hundreds of people over the past few days, and that cries for help from the government have gone unanswered.
According to the Associated Press, witnesses said that militants, disguised as soldiers, killed at least 200 civilians in attacks on three villages in Northeastern Nigeria, while the real military took no action to prevent the carnage, despite advance warnings.
A community leader who witnessed the killings on Monday said residents of the Gwoza local government district in Borno state had pleaded for the military to send soldiers to protect the area after they heard that militants were about to attack, but help didn't arrive.
Nigerian news outlet Today reports that, according to witnesses, at least 400 have been killed in Attagara, Aghapalwa and Gwoshe, all part of the Gwoza Local Government Council in Borno:
The attackers, some disguised in military uniforms, raided the villages yesterday (Tuesday), using “sophisticated weapons” and “started killing from house to house,” Abba Aji Khalil, chairman of a local vigilante group set up to combat the militants, said on telephone. Yuguda Ndurvua, a local clergyman, said many villages in the area “are being attacked almost on a daily basis.”
According to Bloomberg, this attack took place on Tuesday. The BBC adds that it appears to have been a revenge operation:
Residents who managed to flee Attagara said that their village church first came under attack on Sunday when reportedly 20 people died. Villagers retaliated and some militants were allegedly killed. This seemed to prompt a revenge attack on Tuesday when militants dressed as soldiers pretended they had come to protect the village, Mr Biye said. "They came in mass in military uniform with about 200 motorcycles… they said they came to rescue them [and] they should not run away," he told the BBC's Newsday programme.
The militants killed several people gathered at a church and burned buildings in the area. Witnesses said they saw bodies strewn in nearby hills.
The Nigerian government has come under fire for failing to respond to the threat posed by Boko Haram. Earlier this week, reports emerged that several Nigerian generals had been court-martialed for aiding Boko Haram, a move that suggests they were weeding out corruption, but now officials are contradicting that report. Writes the BBC:
A military spokesman called the reports "falsehoods." This contradicted Interior Minister Abba Moro who in a BBC interview on Tuesday said it was "good news" that the army had identified soldiers who were undermining the fight against the insurgents, and that it sent a strong message to other serving officers.
Meanwhile, hundreds of girls kidnapped by the group back in April remain missing, with no sign that they will be rescued or released anytime soon.