MAIDUGURI, Nigeria - The death toll from an Islamist attack on the northeast Nigerian market town of Gamburu, near the Cameroon border, has risen to at least 125, a policeman at the scene evacuating bodies told Reuters by telephone on Wednesday.

Scores of suspected Boko Haram gunmen surrounded the town before dawn on Monday when its market was busy, and sprayed it with automatic gunfire, burning houses and vehicles and in some cases slitting people's throats. A witness had initially seen 13 bodies in the immediate vicinity of her house.

Meanwhile, President Goodluck Jonathan has come under fire after waiting three weeks to publicly acknowledge the kidnappings in northern Nigeria, where Boko Haram is rampant.

His administration, however, is defending its response -- even as details emerged Tuesday about a second mass kidnapping.