Boko Haram kills villagers in Christmas Eve attack

Several people have been killed in northeast Nigeria after raids in a mostly Christian village by Boko Haram militants and burning a church on Christmas Eve.

According to the news agency AFP, local sources said at least 11 people have died.

The fighter rode to Pemi in Borno State, firing indiscriminately at trucks and motorbikes, a local leader told the news agency.

Pemi is close to Chibok where 200 schoolgirls were abducted in 2014.

Boko Haram has carried out several attacks in northern Nigeria where they are fighting to overthrow the government and create an Islamic state.

They promote a version of Islam that forbids Muslims from participating in the activity originating from the Islamic tradition. Boko Haram has loosely translated “Western education is forbidden”. The group’s most notorious attack targeted schoolgirls in Chibok in 2014 and was held captive for several years.

On Thursday, fighters attacked Pemi as security officials warned of an attack on Christian leave.

The villagers fled into the bushes and some are still reported missing.

Militia leader Abwaku Kabu said, “The militants killed seven people, burned 10 houses and supplied food that was distributed to residents to celebrate Christmas.”

The attackers burned down a church, kidnapped a priest and stole medical supplies from a hospital, before setting fire.

According to the United Nations, the Boko Haram conflict, which has been going on for decades, has killed at least 36,000 people and displaced two million from their homes.

To protect themselves, communities in northern Nigeria have resorted to armed vigilance and military groups that work with the military.

In December, the group claimed responsibility for the kidnapping of over 300 schoolchildren in Katsina state, although Nigerian authorities said it was a local gang linked to the Islamic group.

Last month, Boko Haram fighters also said that they had killed dozens of farm laborers.

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