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Retreating Islamic Militants Leave Mass Grave in Nigeria


Chadian soldiers stand at a checkpoint in front of a Boko Haram flag in the Nigerian city of Damasak, March 18, 2015.

Soldiers from Chad say they have found more than 100 bodies in a mass grave in the Nigerian town of Damasak after helping to liberate the village from Boko Haram militants.

The soldiers say some of the victims had their throats slit. They say the mass grave was found on the outskirts of town under a bridge.

Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge

Witnesses say the state of the bodies suggests that the killings had taken place some time ago.

Boko Haram Islamist militants seized Damasak, near the border with Niger, in November, but troops from Niger and Chad recently recaptured the town as part of a multinational effort against the militants.

Boko Haram has carried on an insurgency in northern Nigeria for the past six years, resulting in thousands of deaths and more than a million people driven from their homes.

After the group recently expanded its attacks into neighboring countries, those nations joined with Nigeria to mobilize a counter-offensive which has succeeded in retaking towns across northeastern Nigeria over the past month.

Earlier this week, however, Boko Haram killed at least 10 people in the Nigerian border town of Gomboru, proving it can still carry out attacks despite being forced into retreat.

Witnesses say the deadly attack in Gomboru began Wednesday, just days after Cameroonian forces withdrew from the town, leaving it exposed.

Nigeria, Chad, Cameroon and Niger make up the multinational force fighting the Boko Haram militants. Nigerian soldiers told VOA last week that soldiers from South Africa, Britain and Ukraine are fighting alongside the army. Nigerian officials say the soldiers are training Nigerian troops on how to use newly-purchased equipment.