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Hundreds Killed in Suspected Boko Haram Attacks in Nigeria

  • VOA News

Gunmen believed to be Boko Haram militants have shot dead dozens of people in a northeastern Nigerian village -- the fourth such massacre reported this week.

A local source tells VOA Hausa Service that men wearing military uniforms entered the Borno State village of Bardari and asked people to come listen to a preacher. The source says when the villagers gathered, the men opened fire.

Suspected militants using similar tactics attacked three other villages Monday and Tuesday in the nearby Gwoza district. Witnesses and officials say the militants killed hundreds of people in those attacks and burned down many homes and businesses.

More attacks were reported Thursday in two towns of neighboring Adamawa state -- Madagali and wa Kubla.

The Nigerian government has struggled to contain Boko Haram despite a state of emergency in the northeast and deployment of thousands of troops to the area.

A Nigerian senator representing a southern Borno district says the militants have taken control of several localities and hoisted flags over the towns.

On Wednesday, Nigerian officials denied a report that 15 officers, including 10 generals, have been court martialed for cooperating with Boko Haram.

Military spokesman Major-General Chris Olukolade and government communications official Mike Omeri both told VOA that the report is "not true."

Earlier, the Leadership newspaper reported the military officers were found guilty of giving information and ammunition to Boko Haram, which has said it wants to establish a strict Islamist state in northern Nigeria.

Omeri told VOA English to Africa the Nigerian government has launched a nationwide campaign designed to empower and engage citizens about the government's efforts to fight Boko Haram.

"It is counterterrorism awareness campaign material translated into various languages and distributed in neighborhoods, in the media and so forth and so on. It provides useful tips and other telephone contacts," he said.

The militants have killed thousands of people over the past five years in attacks on schools, churches, mosques, bus stations, and other public places. Boko Haram is also holding more than 200 schoolgirls it kidnapped from the town of Chibok in mid-April.

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