MAIDUGURI, Nigeria, Jan. 31 (UPI) — Terrorist group Boko Haram is suspected of carrying out an attack that claimed the lives of more than 50 people in northeastern Nigeria on Saturday.
Armed with guns and explosives, the militants targeted the villages of Dalori and Walori, located about 6 miles from Maiduguri, the capital of northeastern Nigeria’s Borno state.
The militants, reportedly riding motorcycles and driving trucks and wearing military uniforms, descended on the villages following evening prayers in the mainly-Muslim region. Witnesses and officials said the militants set fire to huts as residents fled into the surrounding wilderness.
Nigerian media reported security forces battled the insurgents for hours, and that gunfire and explosions could be heard lasting into the night.
Dalori is reportedly located near camps housing people displaced by Boko Haram attacks in northeastern Nigeria.
Boko Haram is also suspected of carrying out suicide bombings that killed at least three people and injured dozens of others in neighboring Chad on Sunday.
On Friday, a double bombing killed at least 15 people in a grain market in Nigeria’s Adamawa state, to the south of Borno state.
Two days prior, a similar twin blast attack killed 11 people and injured another 35 in Chibok, the Borno state village where more than 200 schoolgirls were abducted in 2014, bringing Boko Haram’s name into international infamy.
Boko Haram is an Islamic State-affiliated terrorist group that has since 2009 conducted a series of suicide bombings, mass abductions, executions and assaults on remote villages and bases across Nigeria, mainly in the northeast. At least 17,000 people have been killed in violence associated with the group.
Boko Haram seeks a strict Islamic government in Nigeria but has also targeted neighboring Chad, Niger and Cameroon — all members of an 8,700-strong African Union-sponsored force fighting the group.
Recent attacks suspected of being carried out by Boko Haram come despite Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari claiming late last year that Nigeria had “technically” defeated the militants.