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Boko Haram militants massacre 68 attending morning prayers

By The Rainbow
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At least 68 people, including children, were massacred by suspected Boko Haram militants as they attended morning prayers.

Men and boys were targeted by gunmen after they stormed Njaba in eastern Nigeria before burning the remote village to the ground.

The assault took place early on Tuesday as many villagers in the isolated community were heading to morning prayers.

'The attack was not immediately known because the village is very remote and our men couldn't access the area,' said a military source.

Nigerian troops have been struggling to control Boko Haram. Pictured: Chardian soldiers near the front line in Gambaru, Nigeria

One woman, Falmata Bisika, 62, lost four of her grandchildren in the raid, which she said was carried out by gunmen 'armed to the teeth' with weapons and explosives.

The militants destroyed homes and businesses with petrol bombs and shot anyone attempting to flee, 'especially teenagers and the elderly', she said.

Muminu Haruna, 42, said he hid in a grain silo behind his house for several hours with about eight other people until the gunmen left.

'I participated in the counting of dead bodies… 68 people were killed,' he said in an account supported by two civilian vigilantes.

'These included both males and females, some were slaughtered and others shot dead and most of the houses in our village have been destroyed.'

Njaba is 20 kilometres from the town of Damboa, which was seized by Boko Haram last June, forcing thousands to flee, but later recaptured by troops helped by civilian vigilantes.

Boko Haram's six-year insurgency to carve out an Islamic state in the northeast of Nigeria has killed thousands and displaced over 1.5 million people.

The group gained worldwide notoriety in April 2014 after its members kidnapped over 200 schoolgirls from the town of Chibok in Borno state, the heartland of Boko Haram.

The slow government response sparked the movement Bring BackOur Girls that has been seeking international support and lobbying the government to keep up the search.

Today, a representative for President Goodluck met the girls' families in Maiduguri.

Boko Haram control a large area of Borno state and have also carried out cross-border raids in Cameroon, Niger, and Chad.

A military coalition has recaptured several towns in recent weeks.

A screen grab made on January 20, 2015 from a video of Nigerian Islamist extremist group Boko Haram shows Abubakar Shekau, the group's leader, delivering a message at an unknown location

Chad's well-trained army has offered a huge boost to Nigeria in recent weeks, recapturing towns in border areas and pushing into territory near Boko Haram's Sambisa Forest training camps.

Chadian President Idriss Deby yesterday claimed he knew where Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau was and called on him to surrender or be killed.

The Nigerian authorities have declared Shekau dead three times but the military has since reportedly said that they want the militant leader captured alive.

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