As lucky survivors of the recent attacks on communities in Adamawa and Borno States respectively continue to narrate their horrible ordeal in the hands of suspected Boko Haram fighters, the Catholic Bishop of Yola, Mamza Stephen has told the British Broadcasting Corporation, BBC that the insurgents slit some of their victims’ throats as they attempted to flee the hail of gunfire.
“Some people tried to escape through the windows and the attackers shot at them. They cut peoples’ throats”, he said.
The insurgents had attacked worshippers at a Catholic church in Waga Chakawa in Adamawa State during a Sunday morning mass.
Recounting what he was told by survivors, Stephen stated that the insurgents stormed the village in trucks and locked the church “towards the end of the service”.
According to him, the militants set off bombs, before setting houses ablaze and taking residents hostage during the four-hour uninterrupted siege.
He added that death toll in the Waga Chakawa attack was 30 and not 18 or 22 as widely reported.
“Everybody is living in fear. There is no protection. We cannot predict where and when they are going to attack. People can’t sleep with their eyes closed”, he lamented.
It was a similar tale of horror in Kawuri village in Borno State, as a 46-year-old grandmother, Rabi Mallam narrated how another band of insurgents set her hut on fire on Sunday evening.
She said when she heard gunshots from every direction in the community, she dashed into her hut and hid herself with her son and granddaughter.
“I covered the children with heavy blanket soaked in water, but the fire still burnt us. I cried for the children because they were calling me to take them out, but I could not”, she said.
Although Mallam and the children (her son and granddaughter) were lucky to have escaped the attack with varying degree of burns, the same could not be said of many others, who died in the fire set on over 300 houses in the village by the insurgents.
As of Tuesday, the death toll in the Kawuri village attack had risen to 85.
Eyewitnesses had on Monday said that 52 people were slaughtered by the insurgents during the Kawuri attack.
But the villagers, who were preparing for the burial of two newly-discovered bodies when Governor Ibrahim Shettima visited them, said they had buried 83 corpses.
They also lamented that seven of their mosques were set ablaze, while their Imam was also killed by the insurgents.
They added that 50 persons that were injured were still lying in the hospital while 16 others were unaccounted for.
The villagers claimed that some of the victims’ remains could not be recovered as they were burnt to ashes, while six others were charred beyond recognition.
They lamented their situation, saying they were helpless and confused as it appeared that the insurgents came with the intention to wipe out the entire village.
The governor, who appeared grief-stricken and shocked beyond words at the level of carnage and destruction he met on ground, directed the immediate rebuilding of the burnt mosques and market.
Shettima, who also promised to assist the victims to rebuild their houses, gave the families that lost their loved ones N250, 000 each.