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150 people shot, drowned in Yobe river by Boko Haram militants

Residents of Kukuwa-Gari village in Yobe state were thrown into pandemonium as gangs of militants arrived on motorcycles and a car and opened fire of them, local residents said on Tuesday.

Up to 150 people drowned in a river or were shot dead fleeing the insurgents who attacked them on Thursday last week. “They opened fire instantly, which forced residents to flee. They shot a number of people. Unfortunately many residents who tried to flee plunged into the river which is full from the rain. Many drowned,” Modu Balumi, a resident of the village, told newsmen.

“By our latest toll we have 150 people either (shot dead) or drowned in the attack. The gunmen deliberately killed a fisherman who tried to save drowning residents of the village.”  Balumi said the bodies of many of the drowned were picked out by locals several kilometres away.

News of the attack was slow to emerge because the militants have destroyed telecom masts around the village, around 50 kilometres (30 miles) from Yobe State capital Damaturu, since the insurgency began in 2009. “Most residents, particularly women and children, ran towards the river in confusion,”said Bukar Tijjani, another villager, who confirmed the death toll.

“They were pursued by the gunmen who kept firing at them. In the frantic effort to escape they jumped into the river, which was full to the brim.” A local government official confirmed the attack but put the death toll much lower, at around 50.

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