• Death toll in Nigeria attack hits 85: official


    ABUJA: Death toll in an attack by gunmen in Nigeria’s northeastern state of Borno hit 85 when rescue operators found more dead bodies while combing the area for casualties on Tuesday, a local official told Xinhua two days after the incident.

    Ali Kaka Yale, scribe of Konduga local government area of the restive northern state, said 16 people were still missing after rescue operators had counted up to 85 dead bodies which littered the area after the tragic incident on Sunday.

    The residents lost their lives when Kawuri District, the biggest town in Konduga, came under serious attack on Sunday evening despite a state of emergency declared by President Goodluck Jonathan about a year ago.

    More dead bodies might be found as search and rescue mission continued, Yale said, while receiving Governor Kashim Shettima, who went to sympathize with the community over the carnage.

    “Even today (Tuesday), we still picked two corpses and, so far, 85 people have been confirmed dead,” the local government official added.

    Some 50 people who sustained injuries during the attack were assisted to local hospitals where they are being treated, he said.

    On Monday, local police chief Lawan Tanko confirmed that scores of residents lost their lives in the attack. The police officer, who blamed the attack on the Boko Haram sect, also said there was possibility for an increase in the number of casualties as rescue operation was ongoing.

    Local residents said scores of gunmen, who wielded AK 47 rifles and shot indiscriminately, set hundreds of houses ablaze with improvised explosive devices (IEDs).

    Sources said the gunmen fled into Sambisa Games Forest, which has recently served as a place of refuge for fleeing Boko Haram fighters.

    Meanwhile, governor Shettima described the attack as barbaric, while assessing the damage it caused on Tuesday.

    He promised that the government would support the community by rebuilding the business centers burned by the insurgents during the attack.

    No group has claimed responsibility for the attack, although it is a stronghold of Boko Haram, a sect which proves to be the major security threat in the West African country.

    Last week, Nigeria’s newly appointed defense chief Alex Badeh vowed to end the insurgency of Boko Haram by April.

    More than 1,500 people, including women and children, had been killed in the five-year insurgency of the sect. PNA


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