Date: February 1, 2016
Jihadists armed with guns, explosives attack Nigerian village of Dalori and neighboring camps
By Dan Wooding, Founder of the ASSIST News Service, who was born in Nigeria
DALORI, NIGERIA (ANS – Feb 1. 2016) -- Members of the radical Islamist group Boko Haram are alleged to have burned children alive as part of an assault in Nigeria that killed 86 people, a survivor of the attack has claimed.
“The incident happened Saturday night in the village of Dalori in northeastern Nigeria. Two nearby camps housing 25,000 people who have fled Boko Haram were also attacked,” said a report in USA Today.
The Associated Press said it spoke to a survivor who was hidden in a tree, said he watched Boko Haram extremists firebomb huts and heard the screams of children burning to death. Survivor Alamin Bakura, weeping in a telephone call to the AP, told the news service that several of his family members were killed or wounded in the attack, which lasted for nearly four hours.
Masa Dalori, a community leader, told AFP, “We were seated outside our home shortly after the Isha prayer when we heard gunshots and within a few minutes the invaders had arrived.
“They came in Golf saloon cars and began to shoot sporadically. Many people ran to the bush including myself,” he said.
“When we came back in the morning the entire community has been razed. At least 50 people were also killed, many others injured,” he said.
Mallam Hassan, another villager, gave a similar account, saying, “I lost an uncle in the attack. But I thank God I escaped with my children.
The violence continued as three female suicide bombers blew up among people who managed to flee to neighboring Gamori village, killing many people, according to a soldier at the scene who insisted on anonymity because he is not authorized to speak to journalists.
Nigerian troops arrived at Dalori around 8:40 p.m. Saturday but were unable to overcome the attackers, who were better armed, said soldiers who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the press. The Boko Haram fighters only retreated after reinforcements arrived with heavier weapons, they said.
Journalists visited the carnage Sunday and spoke to survivors who complained it had taken too long for help to arrive from nearby Maiduguri, the military headquarters of the fight to curb Boko Haram. They said they fear another attack.
A soldier at the scene told the AP that three female suicide bombers blew themselves up as part of the assault, but there was little information about the sequence of events that led to the deaths of the children. USA TODAY was unable to verify the account.
Mohammed Kanar, the area coordinator of Nigeria's National Emergency Management Agency, said 86 bodies, many of them charred and riddled with bullets, were collected by Sunday afternoon.
Abba Musa of the country's State Specialist Hospital in Maiduguri, the largest city in the area, said 62 survivors were being treated for burns.
Nigeria's Vanguard newspaper reported that the assault came after claims by the government that Boko Haram militants no longer had the ability to carry out such major attacks other than through suicide bombings. Nigeria previously had said that its military drove the extremists out of towns and villages in the region last year.
Soldiers who spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the news media said government troops arrived at Dalori but could not overpower the better-armed militants. They said the extremists only retreated after more troops arrived with heavier weapons.
Boko Haram has pledged allegiance to the Islamic State — also known as ISIS or ISIL — and during a six-year insurgency, has killed about 20,000 people and has driven 2.5 million Nigerians from their homes. It seeks a hardline Islamic state in northern Nigeria, where I was born in 1940.
Photo captions: 1) Boko Haram fighters. 2) A car burns at the scene of a Boko Haram bombing in this file photograph taken outside St. Theresa Catholic Church in Madalla, Nigeria. (Photo: Reuters). 3) A wounded woman is carried on a stretcher in Mora, following suicide attacks in the border city of Kerawa, northern Cameroon, on January 29, 2016. (AFP, Stringer). 4) Boko Haram fighters lie dead in the street after a previous gun battle with the Nigerian forces in Borno State. 5) Dan Wooding.
About the writer: Dan Wooding, 75, is an award-winning winning author, broadcaster and journalist who was born in Nigeria of British missionary parents, and is now living in Southern California with his wife Norma, to whom he has been married for more than 52 years. They have two sons, Andrew and Peter, and six grandchildren who all live in the UK. Dan is the founder and international director of ASSIST (Aid to Special Saints in Strategic Times) and the ASSIST News Service (ANS). He is also the author of some 45 books and has two US-based TV programs and a radio show called “Front Page Radio.” He has reported from all over Africa for ANS.