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Dozens killed in suspected Boko Haram raid in northern Nigeria

Phil Hazlewood, AFP file picture | Boko Haram militants

Suspected Boko Haram militants massacred at least 68 villagers, including many children, in a northeastern Nigerian village earlier this week, several witnesses have said, providing testimony of a horrific bloodbath.

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Heavily armed militants stormed the village of Njaba in Borno state "from all directions" in the pre-dawn attack Tuesday, said 62-year-old Falmata Bisika, who managed to escape the slaughter.

The attack was not reported earlier due to the remoteness of the area.

"The terrorists were armed to the teeth," she said, recounting the insurgents' rampage through the village, which saw them fire on fleeing residents, including "teenagers and the elderly".

"It is very unlikely (that) I will ever go back," she said. "Four of my grandchildren have been killed."

Village vigilante leader Ali Mulai said the attack began at about 5 a.m.

"The victims included boys and girls between the ages of 13 and 19 and other older residents who were either shot dead or slaughtered," he said.

A third witness, who requested anonymity, said he believed the assault had been launched from Gwoza, where Boko Haram is believed to be amassing fighters.

Gwoza is also the town in Borno state where Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau first proclaimed the existence of a caliphate inside Nigeria.

The group seized territory the size of Belgium last year, which Nigeria’s ill-equipped army has struggled to take back.

Boko Haram's Zone of Influence
FRANCE 24

(FRANCE 24 with AFP, REUTERS)

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