Suspected Boko Haram Islamists have killed 19 people, including six college teachers, in three separate attacks in Nigeria’s troubled north-eastern Borno state.
The killings took place on Thursday and Friday in the towns of Dikwa and Kala-Balge and near Dalwa village in the state, the bastion of the Islamist sect, residents and travellers said.
In Dikwa, one of the ancient towns in Borno state, residents said insurgents stormed a college in the early hours of Thursday, killed six teachers and two security guards and abducted several women.
A witness, Modu Kakarimi, who fled Dikwa to Maiduguri, the state capital, said he and some others ran away to safety when they heard sound of gunshots.
“Our fear was heightened when we saw the boarding school (college) in flames. We later gathered that they have killed eight there. We fled together with our women and children,” Kakarimi said.
Borno state senator Ahmed Zanna confirmed the Dikwa killing.
“There was a siege on one of the schools in the town just after midnight … They also razed the school library and escaped into the night through the bushes,” he said.
A group of insurgents also attacked Kala-Balge town, killing three people and setting many houses ablaze, local officials said.
The military is launching a major offensive in the region to crush Boko Haram’s uprising, which the insurgents say is aimed at creating a strict Islamic state in northern Nigeria.
Violence in the region has already killed about 1500 people this year.