About 60 people drowned in a river while fleeing a Boko Haram attack on a remote village in northern Nigeria, local media reports said Tuesday. Locals reportedly said that several other residents were shot dead by the militants.
The attack took place in Kukuwa village in Yobe state last Thursday, but details emerged nearly five days later as militants destroyed telecommunication systems around the village, about 30 miles from the state capital Damaturu, according to reports. Boko Haram militants reportedly arrived in the village on motorcycles and cars, and opened fire.
"They opened fire instantly, which forced residents to flee. They shot a number of people. Unfortunately many residents who tried to flee plunged into the river which is full from the rain. Many drowned," Modu Balumi, a resident of the village told Agence France-Presse. "By our latest toll we have 150 people either (shot dead) or drowned in the attack. The gunmen deliberately killed a fisherman who tried to save drowning residents of the village."
Boko Haram, which aims to establish an ISIS-style government in northern Nigeria, has killed thousands of people since launching a brutal insurgency in the country six years ago.
"We were getting ready to observe evening prayers, all of a sudden we started hearing sounds of gunshots," one man told BBC. "We all ran for our dear life into the bush. The following morning we returned home and discovered corpses of 60 children. They all drowned in the river in their effort to escape the attack."
Nigeria's President Muhammadu Buhari has given the country’s military three months to end the Islamist group’s violence.
"You need to brace up and continue to team up with other stakeholders to come up with a well-coordinated joint effort which will bring a desired end to these insurgencies within three months," Buhari told officials in the capital Abuja last week.