Boko Haram has burnt down a village neighbouring the northeast Nigerian town of Chibok where the group kidnapped over 200 schoolgirls two years ago, local residents said Wednesday.
A group of Boko Haram gunmen invaded Goptari, 10 kilometres from Chibok, late Tuesday and set it on fire after looting food supplies and livestock.
The attack underscores the continued threat of Boko Haram in Nigeria’s volatile northeast, where the military is still battling for control despite making gains against the insurgents over the past year.
“They attacked the village around 8:00 pm (1900GMT), firing heavy guns which made people flee into the bush,” Samson Bulus from nearby Kautikeri village told AFP.
“The Boko Haram raiders looted homes and shops, taking along food supplies and livestock before burning the entire village,” he said.
Luka Damina, another Kautikeri resident said troops in Chibok engaged the attackers in gun battle but were subdued by the insurgents.
“The Boko Haram fighters overpowered the soldiers and seized a van with a machine gun mounted on the deck from the soldiers,” he said.
Witnesses, including a local chief, said a soldier was wounded during the shootout.
The attack came two days after a raid on nearby Kallali village where the Islamists looted and burnt homes, a local chief told AFP.
Boko Haram has waged a seven-year insurgency against the Nigerian state that has claimed at least 20,000 lives and spilled across the country’s borders.
Aided by troops from neighbouring countries, the Nigerian military has recaptured swathes of territory from the Islamists since early 2015.
But Boko Haram has carried out sporadic attacks on remote villages in the restive region.
Last month eight people were killed outside a church in a village 30 kilometres east of Chibok. In August, 10 people were killed in another attack on nearby Kubrivu village.Punch