The Nigerian Air Force struck a Boko Haram “hideout” in the northern Borno state, while at least five people were killed and a village razed in an attack blamed on the group.
Boko Haram fighters in 10 trucks stormed Gasarwa village near the garrison town of Monguno late on Friday, August 3, setting homes on fire.
“Five people were killed in the arson, they included two elderly men and three children,” Babakura Kolo, a militia leader in the Borno state capital Maiduguri told AFP.
Militia defending the village said they were outnumbered and outgunned.
Militia member Ibrahim Liman said the Boko Haram attackers watched food supplies and livestock burn in the fire but made no attempt to loot.
It was not clear which Boko Haram faction was behind the attacks, but jihadists loyal to Islamic State-affiliated Abu Mus’ab Al-Barnawi are known to operate in the area.
Boko Haram is divided into two factions that have competing goals and operational methods. One, led by Barnawi, is apparently in talks with the Nigerian government. The other, led by Abubakar Shekau, is notorious for suicide bombings.
Nigerian Air Force strikes Boko Haram in Borno state
Meanwhile, the Nigerian Air Force said it had struck a Boko Haram “hideout” at Daban Masara in Borno state, also on August 3, as part of Operation Lafiya Dole.
The air force said that the strikes were conducted on the basis of intelligence that indicated Boko Haram militants were in settlements near the southern shores of Lake Chad, including Daban Masara.
An Alpha Jet struck two buildings in the town where the Air Force said Boko Haram members were meeting, resulting in the destruction of the target buildings and the “neutralization of several” militants.
Boko Haram has intensified its armed campaign in recent weeks, especially against military targets in which dozens of troops were believed to have been killed or gone missing.
At the end of July, a group of jihadists in five trucks sacked a military post in nearby Bunari village, with a military source claiming 11 troops were killed.
Recent attacks underline the threat posed despite repeated government and military claims that Boko Haram, whose insurgency has killed at least 20,000 people since 2009, is a spent force and on the verge of defeat.
The government is now encouraging thousands of people displaced by the conflict to return to their homes from makeshift camps in the Borno state capital, Maiduguri.
But international aid agencies working in the remote region say conditions are not right for mass returns, particularly in terms of security.
With reporting from AFP