Villagers in northeastern Nigeria say Cameroonian troops searching for Boko Haram militants Sunday killed about 70 civilians. according to a VOA News report.
This comes amidst reports that in the past two months, Nigerian and Cameroonian troops have freed hundreds of people in Nigeria who were being held captive by Boko Haram militants. Many are now living in an open air transit camp in the northern Cameroonian town of Kolofata.
According to witnesses, the soldiers entered the Borno State village of Kirawa-Jimni, asked where Boko Haram militants were hiding, and then began shooting.
Many villagers ran to escape the gunfire. Those who escaped said when they returned the following day, they found about the bodies of 70 people who had been shot.
A local militia group spokesman, Abbas Gava, says the soldiers were “in hot pursuit” of Boko Haram members when they opened fire on the villagers.
Kirawa-Jimni is a village near the Nigerian border with Cameroon, which has been fighting Boko Haram since the Islamist radical group began cross-border attacks in 2013.
ABOVE PHOTO: Former Nigerian hostages held by Boko Haram who were freed by the Cameroonian military arrive in Maroua, Cameroon, in this still image taken from a Dec. 5, 2015 video footage.
BELOW: Former Nigerian hostages held by Boko Haram who were freed by the Cameroonian military arrive in Maroua, Cameroon, in this still image taken from a Dec. 5, 2015 video footage.
Former Boko Haram Captives Take Refuge in Cameroon
Among the many now living in an open air transit camp in the northern Cameroonian town of Kolofata is 56-year-old Nigerian, Dada Aminatou. She fled her village near the town of Banki, less than 20 kilometers away, during a raid by the Cameroonian military this month.
Heavy winds blow across this open air transit camp in Sabongari, a village on the border outside Kolofata. The camp is now home to over 800 people displaced by the Boko Haram conflict.
She said Boko Haram wouldn’t let them leave their village. Their property and cattle were seized. She said the militants took the boys into the bush to their camps while she and other residents escaped amid gunfire during repeated raids by the Cameroonian military.
She said some Boko Haram fighters escaped, while others were killed or arrested. Some village residents asked the military to take them to Cameroon for fear that Boko Haram would come back for revenge she said.
Aminatou said some villagers are missing and believed to have been killed during the fighting. She said the Cameroonian soldiers did not assist the wounded.