Gunmen suspected to be Boko Haram members in a convoy of Toyota Hilux vehicles and motorcycles attacked Damasak town in Borno State, yesterday, with Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) and petrol bombs, killing scores of people.
The gunmen invaded the town around 7 am on Monday.
Damasak is a border town with Niger and 187 kilometres north of Maiduguri, the state capital.
The attackers, according to Multinational Joint Task Force (MJTF) sources in Maiduguri, also torched and looted several houses and shops, before the soldiers rushed to the border town by 11.45pm, yesterday.
“I cannot give you the exact number of people killed today (yesterday) here in Damasak, but many people were killed while fleeing into the river and to Gashigar and Diffa towns for safety. The gunmen used IEDs and petrol bombs in attacking this town in the morning while most residents were still in their houses”, a source told newsmen on Thursday.
However, another version of the deadly attack had it that the gunmen disguised as traders and opened fire at a crowded market in the town.
A military officer, who had direct knowledge of the raid, told AFP that “the terrorists disguised as traders and opened fire on unsuspecting traders at a market in Damasak.”
Another witness, Mohammed Damasak, who works with the local government, said the weapons were concealed in containers the gunmen brought to the market.
“They pretended to be traders but sadly inflicted horror. Many traders escaped with bullet wounds while many are lying dead at the market,” he added.
Confirming yesterday’s attack, Senator Maina Ma’aji Lawan said one of the border towns in the Borno North Senatorial District was attacked, yesterday, by suspected Boko Haram Islamic militants with many residents killed, while others fled to Niger and into River Kumadugu for safety.
Lawan said: “The residents of Damasak, a border town with Niger, are in confusion with sporadic gunshots and looting of shops and houses.
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