142 bodies ‘recovered’ after Boko Haram attacks in Nigeria

A total of 142 bodies have been evacuated from the scenes of attacks by the Boko Haram Islamic sect in Nigeria’s northern Borno State, which occurred on Tuesday and Wednesday, the local media reported Friday.

The report quoted an official of the Borno State Environmental Protection Agency, Mr. Saidu Yakubu, who said 87 bodies were recovered on Thursday alone.

The attacks took place in Benisheikh town, where 14 civilians and five security personnel were killed and over 150 houses and scores of vehicles razed Wednesday, as well as along the Maiduguri-Damaturu highway.

Many others were killed and their bodies dumped in the surrounding bushes, when the Islamists ambushed travellers along the highway on Tuesday, while the military post in the area and the local government secretariat were also attacked with rocket-propelled grenades.

On Thursday, Borno State Governor Kashim Shettima visited the scenes of the attacks, where he condemned what he called ‘barbaric and un-Islamic’ attacks.

“It is just insanity to destroy public structures, people’s houses and kill people like they did,” Gov. Shema said, pleading with the residents of Benisheikh not to abandon the town.

“Government is going to rebuild all the houses destroyed by the attackers…Everyone who has lost something will be compensated to enable them have a fresh start. All vehicles burnt or taken away by the insurgents will equally be replaced,” he said.

On Wednesday, the Nigerian military, which is fighting Boko Haram in the predominantly-Muslim north, said it killed 150 members of the sect and lost 16 soldiers in a clash also in Borno, the epicentre of the sect’s violence.

A local online newspaper, Premium Times, had put the number of soldiers killed at 40, while 65 others are missing

President Goodluck Jonathan declared a state of emergency in Adamawa, Borno and Yobe, three of the states worst hit by the Boko Haram attacks in May.

The military said it had decimated the sect and weakened its ability to carry out coordinated attacks.

However, recent deadly attacks, especially in Borno, have shown that the sect’s violent machinery remains potent.