The Nigeria-based Boko Haram Takfiri militants have reportedly massacred civilians in a recent fatal attack they carried out in southeastern Niger.
The militants on April 25 attacked Nigerien army soldiers on Karamga island in Lake Chad, which is located along the borders of Chad, Niger and Cameroon.
Umar Yerima, a local fisherman, told AFP on Monday that during the raid on the soldiers Boko Haram also massacred residents who tried to jump into the lake for safety. The militants burnt some people alive during the assault.
“They would aim their gun from the edge of the lake and shoot any head that emerged from the water,” Yerima recounted.
“They burnt the entire village and went on a shooting spree. Many residents were burnt alive in their homes.”
Meanwhile, a senior official in the town of Diffa, located in southeastern Niger and west of the lake, has confirmed that the Nigerien soldiers suffered “very heavy” casualties after being overpowered by the militants in the restive region.
Reports indicate that the gunmen remained on a rampage for several hours and started withdrawing when a military jet began bombarding the area.
The militants also kidnapped a number of women and children as they fled the region, reports say.
Following the attack, Niger’s President Mahamadou Issoufou called a meeting of the national security council.
Niger, along with Chad, Cameroon and Nigeria, has been involved in a joint operation against Boko Haram since March 8.
The Takfiri militant group says its goal is to overthrow the government of Nigeria.
The militants have claimed responsibility for a number of deadly shooting attacks and bombings in various parts of Nigeria since the beginning of their militancy in 2009, which has so far left over 13,000 people dead and displaced 1.5 million.