No fewer than eight people have lost their lives after suspected members of the dreaded terrorist group, Boko Haram, attacked a church in Borno State, northeast Nigeria, on Monday.
This latest attack is coming after Nigerian troops claimed to have degraded the sect following repeated airstrikes and raids on their strongholds that reportedly left their elusive leader Abubakar Shekau fatally wounded.
Local residents report that incident occurred shortly after the morning service in Kwamjilari village, about 30 kilometres east of the town of Chibok, when armed insurgents on bicycles opened fire on the church.
They later set fire to homes and farms that were due for harvest, before troops were deployed to secure the village.
“Some of the worshippers remained around the church and the gunmen opened fire and eight men died,” said Luka Damina, from nearby Kautikeri village, where locals fled.
“Unknown to the residents, the gunmen had stationed some of their comrades on the road leading out of the village and they shot anyone who tried to flee. Many people ran into the bush with gunshot wounds. But so far we can only confirm eight deaths.”
This is the second such attack in the village over the past month after suspected Boko Haram members killed 10 and kidnapped 13 in August.
Though the military has largely reduced the terrorists to sporadic, guerilla-style attacks, the safety of lives and properties in remote rural communities continues to be a challenge.