Terror group Boko Haram shot and killed more than 100 people this week in attacks on Nigerian towns that had been “recaptured this year from Boko Haram by a multinational army,” the Associated Press reports. Some of the raids targeted mosques during services marking the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.
The attack Wednesday night on the town of Kukawa came the day after the Islamic extremist group attacked a village 35 kilometers (22 miles) away and killed another 48 men and boys, according to witnesses who counted the dead.
The people of Kukawa were in several mosques, praying ahead of breaking their daylong fast, when the extremists attacked. They killed 97 people, mainly men, said self-defense spokesman Abbas Gava and a senior government official who spoke on condition of anonymity because he is not authorized to give information to reporters.
Gava said his group’s fighters in Kukawa said some militants also broke into people’s homes, killing women and children as they prepared the evening meal.
The deadly attacks took place in the northeastern state of Borno, which was the site of Boko Haram’s brazen kidnapping of more than 200 girls from a school in the town of Chibok in 2014. The incident focused attention on extremist violence in the region, with the hashtag #bringbackourgirls spreading around the world on Twitter and months of harrowing reports that the girls had been forced into “marriages” with members of Boko Haram, which opposes Western influence in Muslim countries and has aligned itself with ISIS.
A Nigerian military official told CNN that President Muhammadu Buhari’s government had carried out airstrikes against Boko Haram after this week’s attacks, and the defense ministry announced on Thursday that a businessman involved in the Chibok kidnapping had been arrested. Former president Goodluck Jonathan lost his re-election campaign this year amid accusations of a weak response to the Boko Haram threat. Shortly after his loss to Buhari, the Nigerian government announced that it had rescued the kidnapped girls.