Kano: Boko Haram gunmen killed dozens of people in four villages in northeast Nigeria, slitting some residents' throats and opening fire on others, one resident and the police said today.
"Boko Haram gunmen came into our villages at night, killing 43 people," said Sheriff Kulo, from Kilwa village near Monguno, who escaped to the Borno state capital, Maiduguri.
There was no corroboration of his death toll but the state police commissioner confirmed the raids, which happened late last Friday.
Details have only just emerged because of poor to non-existent phone networks in the remote area.
Boko Haram has mounted almost daily raids, bombings and suicide attacks in northeast Nigeria since May 29, when Muhammadu Buhari became president vowing to crush the six-year Islamist uprising.
Yesterday, he sacked his entire military high command, who were appointed by his predecessor Goodluck Jonathan, in the latest sign he is making a fresh start in the counter-insurgency.
Kulo said the gunmen seized food and cattle then set villagers homes on fire.
"In Kilwa alone, they killed seven people, including the village head and left one seriously injured with a fracture on his leg," he added.
"They then proceeded to Gwollam, Misala and Magaram, where they did the same thing. In all they killed 43.
"They opened fire on residents and in some cases they used knives to slaughter their victims."
Many women and children fled to Monguno but were living in the open air with little food, he said. Others made it to Maiduguri to raise the alarm.
The Borno state police commissioner, Aderemi Padokun, confirmed the attacks.
"From what we heard, the gunmen raided these villages. They shot dead their victims and in some cases slit their throats. They also carted away foodstuffs and livestock," he said.
"We don't have details of the actual number of people killed in the attack but I can confirm it happened."
Boko Haram mounted a similar raid on a nearby village in the Monguno area on July 1, killing 48.
The latest deaths take the number of people killed since Buhari's presidency began to more than 625, according to an AFP count.