Eight persons, including children, were confirmed killed Wednesday evening in an attack by Boko Haram gunmen on a camp for internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Maiduguri, Borno State capital.
National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) gave the casualty figure in a statement confirming the attack, although eye-witnesses said at least a dozen people died.
The attack on Dalori IDP camp started at about 7p.m. and lasted two hours during which the attackers reportedly overpowered soldiers guarding the camp.
Dalori camp, located few kilometers outside Maiduguri, is one of the largest in the state.
Eye-witnesses who spoke to journalists in Maiduguri said they counted up to 12 corpses after the attack.
Mr Solomon Adamu, an official of Civilian-JTF deployed in the camp, said “a total of 12 persons were killed here and outside the camp.”
“At Gwazari-Kofa, one person was killed, at Dalori IDP Camp II, two persons were killed; and at Bulabulin a village near the camp, nine persons got killed,” he said.
He said the attackers came in seven pickup vans.
“They were about 100 in number and all of them were fully armed. We had to run for our lives.”
NEMA, however, in a statement confirming the attack, said only eight persons died.
An eyewitness said via a text message that six persons were killed and two got drowned in a river while trying to escape.
“Last night from 7.30 till 9.30 our camp was attacked,” said the source who, for safety reasons, would not want to be named in the media.
“We were so scared during the attack; lots of houses were burned; one man was killed and two other men drowned when they escaped.
“Villages near our camp were all burned. They also killed a family of five outside our camp.”
The source said soldiers guarding the camp could not save the situation.
“Most of the soldiers fled alongside we the IDPs and those leaving outside the camp.
“The General officer Commanding 7 Division, Mr Bulama Biu, came to the camp at 10p.m after the attack was over,” said the source.
Zonal coordinator of NEMA for North east, Mr Bashir Garga, said in a statement he signed that ”six (6) people from Kofa village were killed as a result of suspected Boko Haram terrorists that attacked four villages in outskirts of Maiduguri, Borno State capital.
“The attack occurred on Wednesday night at about 8.00 pm. Kofa, Mallumti, Ngomari, Gozari, villages which are close to Dalori IDP camp were affected.
“Many villagers fled to Dalori IDP camp for safety which led to an attack on the camp vicinity which claimed the lives of two IDPs making a total of eight people dead.
“The terrorists gained access to the area through a bush path behind the villages and came in four vehicles and some motorcycles. They ransacked the market in front of the IDP camp.
“Villagers who ran into the bush for safety have returned back to their homes while Borno State Fire Service have contained the inferno. The injured have been treated in the camp clinic while serious cases were evacuated to hospitals in maiduguri. An assessment team is on site to provide relief assistance to those affected.”
Camp officials said some other IDPs are yet to be accounted for at the time of filing this report.
“Some of our women who fled across the river are yet to return, even though we hear rumor that they were taken away by Boko Haram gunmen.”
The military has not issued any official statement concerning the attack. But the GOC informed journalists on phone that the soldiers guarding the camp repelled the attack.
Borno State Deputy Governor, Usman Durkwa, visited the camp at about 3 p.m. on Thursday to sympathise with the IDPs and residents.