Boko Haram attack kills at least 142 in Nigeria



Nigerian soldiers patrol in the north of Borno state close to a former Boko Haram camp on June 5, 2013, near Maiduguri.


Quentin Leboucher/AFP/Getty Images

At least 142 people were killed on Tuesday in an attack by Boko Haram militants in the Nigerian state of Borno.

Initially, 87 bodies were recovered in the bush, but the death toll has increased.

The attackers disguised themselves in military uniforms and set up checkpoints outside of the town of Benisheik in order to shoot those trying to flee, witnesses told Agence France-Presse

They reportedly used "anti-aircraft guns" to shoot at locals from the 20 pickup trucks they used to drive into the town. Once there, they burnt down scores of homes and buildings.

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Borno state governor Kashim Shettima visited Benisheik on Thursday, calling the killings "barbaric and un-Islamic" and promising financial assistance for relatives of the victims, according to the BBC.

Nigeria's military sent additional soldiers to the town on Friday.

Communication with Borno has been disrupted since the middle of May, when the state's phone network went down. At the time, Nigeria declared a state of emergency across most of the country's northeast, as it attempted to put a stop to Boko Haram's four-year insurgency with a military offensive.

Benisheik was also the scene of clashes earlier this month, when five militants and 13 members of local vigilante groups were killed.

On Friday, Nigerian security forces killed nine suspected Boko Haram militants in a gun battle in the capital, Abuja. The security team clashed with the militants at a residential compound when they searched for a buried cache of weapons belonging to the group.

"No sooner had the team commenced digging for the arms than they came under heavy gunfire attack by other Boko Haram elections," Marilyn Ogar, Deputy Director of the Department of State Services, said in a statement.

Police arrested 12 militants after the shoot-out.