15 killed in Boko Haram raid, Nigerian villagers say
Willie Grace | 12/31/2014, 5:45 p.m. | Updated on 12/31/2014, 5:45 p.m.
KANO, Nigeria (CNN) -- At least 15 people were killed and several homes burnt on Tuesday when Boko Haram gunmen raided a village in northern Nigeria near the town of Chibok, according to fleeing residents and a military officer.
Boko Haram rebels drew international condemnation when they kidnapped more than 200 schoolgirls from Chibok in April, many of whom they said they sold into slavery.
In the latest raid, scores of Boko Haram fighters armed with guns and petrol bombs stormed the remote farming village of Kautikari on motorcycles early Tuesday, shooting randomly and torching homes.
The attackers urged residents not to flee, saying they were in the village to find selected targets.
"The gunmen killed 15 people, mostly youth vigilantes who keep watch on the village against Boko Haram attacks," said Adamu Kolomgunna, who fled the village for the town of Maiduguri.
The attackers hurled petrol bombs into homes, causing fire that destroyed several houses, he said.
"The village has been deserted by all able-bodied men, leaving only the old and children," Kolomgunna said.
The gunmen left the village after the raid, warning residents not to stand in their way when they carry out attacks, said Silas Bitrus, another resident who gave a similar death toll.
This was the second deadly raid on Kautikari by Boko Haram insurgents in recent months.
On June 29, Boko Haram gunmen dressed as soldiers opened fire on a church in the village during Sunday Mass, killing nine worshipers in an attack in which the militants again burnt several homes.
Only two weeks ago, Boko Haram insurgents kidnapped at least 185 women and children and killed 32 people in a raid on another village near Chibok, called Gumsuri, local officials said.
Boko Haram has terrorized northern Nigeria regularly since 2009, attacking police, schools, churches and civilians, and bombing government buildings.
Violence has increased sharply in recent months, ahead of elections due in February.
The Islamist group -- considered one of the world's most deadly terrorist organizations -- has said its aim is to impose a stricter enforcement of sharia law across Nigeria, which is split between a majority Muslim north and a mostly Christian south.
For more information go to http://www.cnn.com