Kano: Five people were killed in Boko Haram raids on two villages near a town in northeast Nigeria where more than 200 schoolgirls were kidnapped nearly two months ago, residents said today.
Gunmen dressed in military uniform stormed Tohya and Wurojene, 13 kilometres from Chibok, Borno state, late on Monday, opening fire on residents, burning homes and looting food stores.
"The attackers are obviously Boko Haram and came around 7:00 pm (1800 GMT)," Zamani Emma, a community leader in Tohya.
"They opened fire on the two villages and threw petrol bombs into our homes, forcing us to flee into the bush.
"When we returned the next morning we recovered five corpses and found scores of our homes burnt while all our food supplies were taken away."
Wurojene resident Mansur Ahmed gave a similar account and said the attackers came from the Sambisa forest, where Boko Haram has camps and which has been the focus of the hunt for the missing girls.
At least 20 nomadic women were at the weekend kidnapped by suspected Boko Haram gunmen in nearby Garkin Fulani village and taken to an unknown location.
On Monday the Islamists took over Biita and Izghe villages -- also in Borno state -- in an apparent revenge attack against the military after scores of its fighters were killed.
Nigeria`s military announced on Monday that its troops killed some 50 insurgents in Biita and recovered arms and ammunition at the weekend.
"Boko Haram have take over Biita and Izghe after overwhelming soldiers," said Peter Makama, a resident of nearby Madagali, in neighbouring Adamawa state.
"The soldiers fled after Boko Haram launched a counter-offensive following a crushing defeat at the hands of the soldiers in fighting on Saturday and Sunday."
A military source in the Borno state capital, Maiduguri, confirmed the incident but claimed the soldiers had made a tactical withdrawal when faced with hundreds of militant fighters.
"Around 400 Boko Haram terrorists launched a counter-offensive on our troops on Monday after the heavy casualties they sustained in the military offensive at the weekend," the source said.
"Our troops made a tactical withdrawal from Biita and Izghe given the huge numbers of terrorists and the limited ammunitions at their disposal.
"We will re-strategise to re-take the two villages now occupied by the terrorists."