Report revealed that Boko Haram militants killed 11 people in an attack on Gamboru in northeast Nigeria after the Islamists reportedly slaughtered dozens of women in nearby Bama, witnesses said Thursday.
Troops from Chad were credited last month with liberating Gamboru in Borno state from Boko Haram control but Chad’s withdrawal from Nigeria last week appeared to have left the town exposed.
The latest violence underscored the challenges facing Nigeria as it heads towards March 28 general elections.
Despite claims of major victories over the Islamist rebels thanks to a joint offensive involving Chad, Cameroon and Niger, the threat posed by Boko Haram remains severe.
The insurgents have been resilient in the past and doubts persist over whether the regional offensive will prove capable of ending the violence.
Residents of Fotokol, a town in Cameroon but effectively attached to Gamboru, said the rebel onslaught began on Wednesday and there were indications that Boko Haram intended to occupy Gamboru again.
“Boko Haram gunmen returned on motorcycles to Gamboru yesterday (Wednesday)… and shot dead eight people,” said Mudi Dankaka in an account supported by others.
Three more people were killed on Thursday, he added.
Chadian troops last month escorted residents of Gamboru back into the town from Fotokol across the 300-metre (yard) bridge that forms the border.
One resident described Gamboru as “a ghost town strewn with burnt vehicles, destroyed buildings and emptied homes”.
”Boko Haram are back in Gamboru,” said Fotokol resident Umar Ari on Thursday.
Ari and others noted that Nigerian forces had not been spotted in the area, leaving Gamboru with no security presence since the Chadian withdrawal.