Boko Haram, was alleged to have burnt some children to death when the militants overran Dalori, a village four kilometres outside Maiduguri, where about 80 residents of the community were killed on Saturday night.
The Area Coordinator of the National Emergency Management Agency in Borno State, Mohammed Kanar, said 86 bodies were picked up in the village on Sunday.
Hospital sources added that no fewer than 70 persons were receiving treatment in hospitals around the area.
A resident who managed to escape the attack, claimed that screams of children could be heard from burning houses as the embattled villagers ran in confusion to exit the village as the destruction raged.
Also, a survivor, who said he hid on a tree, stated that he watched Boko Haram extremists firebomb huts and heard the screams of children burning to death, AP reports.
On Sunday, while some residents had managed to return to their houses which had been razed, one of our correspondents observed that some burnt bodies and others, riddled with bullets, littered the streets and some burnt houses in the town.
One of those who had returned to the village on Sunday told one of our correspondents that insurgents including suicide bombers attacked the town, which also spilled over to the Internally Displaced Persons’ camps around the village.
Speaking on condition of anonymity, he added that the suicide bombers mingled with fleeing villagers and detonated the explosives on them at the neighbouring Gamori village, killing several of the villagers.
The villagers told newsmen on Sunday that troops did not arrive in time to stop the rampaging sect fighters from unleashing maximum havoc on the community.
Military authorities confirmed that one of the places targeted by the insurgents was the Dalori Internally Displaced Persons’ camp housing over 15,000 people, who are mostly women and children from Bama.
A member of the youth vigilance group in the town, who spoke on condition of anonymity to one of our correspondents on the telephone on Sunday, said not less than 65 persons were killed with over 100 others injured in the attack on Dalori.
One of the residents of the community, who fled to Maiduguri, Yusuf Ibrahim, told one of our correspondents that the attack on the village started around 6.50pm and lasted for hours.
He lamented that the insurgents, who operated undeterred, stormed the village in Hilux vans and motorcycles dressed in army camouflage and set the houses in the village ablaze.
He said livestock were not spared as the insurgents set them on fire but looted foodstuffs.
A rescue worker, who participated in the evacuation of the victims, said 50 corpses were taken to the Borno State Specialist Hospital in Maiduguri and 15 others corpses deposited at the University of Maiduguri Teaching Hospital.
Narrating his ordeal, a resident of the village, Mallam Abba Dalori, told The PUNCH, “We were helpless as no one came to our aid when the insurgents struck on Saturday night. I am still mourning as I lost 11 persons in the siege. At present, I am still looking for five of my children, who went missing during the attack.”
Another resident of Dalori, Imam Ibrahim, who could not hold back his tears as he spoke to one of our correspondents, said the insurgents “dressed like military personnel and opened fire on everybody.’’
He added, ‘‘All our wives and children were brutally killed; our livestock were equally consumed in a great inferno that engulfed the village.”
A statement, the spokesman for the counter-insurgency operation in the North-East, Operation Lafiya Dole, Col. Mustapha Anka, while confirming the attack, however, failed to give the casualty figure.
The statement added, “In their desperate efforts for attacks on strong, determined and committed members of the Civilian Joint Task Force and innocent citizens yesterday (Saturday), 30 January, 2016, Boko Haram terrorists (insurgents) launched an attack on Dalori through Yale from (rear of Dalori village).
“An eyewitness said that the insurgents who came in two Golf cars, motorcycles, started opening fire and burning houses. Their motive was to cause rancour and penetrate the crowd with suicide bombers.
“Similarly, while people were running for their dear lives to Gomari Kerkeri village, three female suicide bombers attempted to make their way into the crowd but were intercepted and subsequently got blown off.
“During the incident, lives were lost while some people sustained injuries. The insurgents also attempted to penetrate Dalori IDP camp, but the attempt was resisted by troops, which resulted into the detonation of IEDs by suicide bombers.”
Anka added that the Theatre Commander of Operation Lafiya Dole, Maj. Gen. Hassan Umaru, had sent a condolence message to the District Head of Dalori, Alhaji Lawal Bashir, and the residents over the unfortunate incident.
Meanwhile, President Muhammadu Buhari on Sunday said having lost the war to the nation’s armed forces, insurgents were desperately seeking ways of returning to wreak havoc on the society.
Buhari therefore called on all Nigerians, especially those who resided in areas previously ravaged by terrorists, to be more vigilant and ready to work with security operatives in ending the war against insurgency.
This was contained in a statement by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu, on Sunday.
Buhari said this while reacting to the spate of suicide bombings in Chibok market, Dolari Internally Displaced Persons’ camp in Borno State and the Gombi market in Adamawa State.
He stated that the insurgents’ gradual return was meant to embarrass his government, pointing out that that was why they chose isolated communities and markets as their targets.
Buhari said the insurgents had suffered immensely from the sustained bombardments of their camps and hideouts by the Nigerian military and had resorted to using desperate measures to gain cheap media attention.
The President added, “Having lost the war, they (the insurgents) are seeking ways and means to gradually find their way back into society.
“They are not returning to contribute but to cause more havoc. They are so desperate to embarrass the government and the people that they have no qualms attacking isolated communities and markets.”
Buhari noted that the materials for the Improvised Explosive Devices were locally sourced by the insurgents.