Boko Haram fighters dressed in Nigerian military garb attacked several villages in northeastern Nigeria’s Gwoza District, in the Borno State, killing hundreds of civilians and forcing the survivors to flee into neighboring Cameroon.
The exact toll is still unclear. Gwoza MP Peter Biye termed the toll “massive” and certainly in the hundreds of dead, but said that Boko Haram remains in control of some of the villages so they can’t even get in to do a proper count. Survivors estimated the toll at between 400 and 500 dead.
The attacks began on Tuesday, but the Nigerian government didn’t appear to have even learned of it until late Wednesday when the first survivors started showing up in Maiduguri. Today, the military launched air strikes against Boko Haram fighters in what remains of the villages.
Survivors say the Boko Haram fighters killed all men and male children in the villages they attacked, killing even infants taken from their mothers. Women do not appear to have been targeted generally.
The use of military uniforms to get access to the villages is the same tactic used in the kidnapping of almost 300 schoolgirls last month. It is unclear if this is related to reports of Nigerian generals being court-martialed for aiding the faction.