Boko Haram has staged a strong comeback by killing 87 civilians after the Nigerian military raided it camp and killed 150 of the militants on Wednesday.
Local officials say the attack happened in the town of Benisheik in Bono State, which is some 70km west of the state capital, Maiduguri. Pictures posted on Facebook by local reporters showed women crying and wailing for dead relatives in the town.
The militants were said to have drove into the town in about 20 pick-up trucks with heavy weapons including an anti-air craft guns mounted on them.
Others too disguised themselves in military uniforms and set up checkpoints outside the town, shooting to dead those trying to flee the town from the attack. Most of those killed were said to be vigilante groups who help the military in tracking down Boko Haram.
Communications with Borno state have been severely disrupted since May, when a state of emergency was declared in Borno and two neighboring states.
Local reporters say Violence in northeast of the country has intensified over the past two months, as the militants fight back against the military operation that is backed by president Goodluck Jonathan.
President Goodluck Jonathan declared a state of emergency in 3 northern states on May 14, and deployed thousands of troops to halt the insurgency, acknowledging that militants had taken control of some towns and villages in the north.
Borno state governor Kashim Shettima described the killings to reporters on Thursday as “barbaric and un-Islamic”, and pledged financial assistance to relatives of the victims.
The military said on late Wednesday that it attacked Boko Haram camp in Bono State and killed 150 of them including the commander of the group.
But political analysts say it appears that Boko Haram is taking revenge against vigilante groups, adding weight to fears that the strategy may trigger an escalation of the violence.
Boko Haram is believed to have carried out a wave of bombings and assassinations since 2009 which have cost an estimate number of over 4,000 lives, and saying it wants to establish an Islamic state across Nigeria.
Issaka Adams / NationalTurk Africa News