The Islamist militant group Boko Haram has stepped up its attack efforts in Nigeria's northeastern state of Borno, reportedly killing 150 people over the weekend. A senator from Borno state said this week that the violence has become so unmanageable that soldiers flee with villagers when the militants arrive, as they are outnumbered and lack proper weapons to fight the militants.
The intense violence took place over the weekend, when Boko Haram militants swarmed three cities in the Borno state, killing a reported total of 150 from Friday to Sunday. Although Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan has allowed the military extra power to curb the extremist group, recent reports indicate that Boko Haram's numbers have been too large for local military to sustain.
Ahmad Zannah, a senator from Borno state, told BBC earlier this week that when Boko Haram militants arrived in Borno over the weekend, military personnel fled along with the villagers because there was not enough manpower to fight the militants. "When the attack took place, all of them ran away, along with the villagers. There was no resistance."
Along with Mafa, militants focused their weekend attacks on the villages of Maiduguri and Mainok, also located in the Borno state. The attackers reportedly used grenade launchers, assault rifles, and bombs to attack densely populated villages in the state.
One resident of Mafa, where 32 people were killed, told All Africa that not only did the militants attack the villagers, but they completely burned entire parts of the city to the ground. "They have set on fire the entire village, sparing nothing. All houses, all shops and government buildings were razed down completely; we have been devastated beyond what one can describe," resident Modu Yuraim said, adding that he and others had buried 32 individuals since Sunday's attack.
Although residents in the country's northeastern area were warned about the possibility of last weekend's attack and the government sent additional military forces to the area, the militants still managed to cause massive destruction during their weekend killing spree.
The Boko Haram militant group has killed thousands of people since it launched its insurgence in Nigeria in 2009. The name of the group translated to English means "western education is forbidden," and the goal of the group is to establish a completely Islamic state in the country.
Although some have criticized Nigeria's government for doing an inadequate job in stopping the militants, officials have argued that they have been making advances in arrests. Earlier this week, Nigeria's Department of State claimed it had arrested seven Boko Haram militants linked to the killing of Sheik Adam Albani, his wife and son. Albani reportedly preached against Islamic extremism and was shot to death along with his family in the country's Kaduna state on Feb. 1.
Chris Olukoladehe, spokesperson for the country's defense agency, told the AFP that government officials have also made arrests linked to the bombings in Maiduguri, and also successfully killed several Boko Haram members during a planned operation on Sunday.