In what appears to be an execution site for the Islamist group, the partially mummified bodies were found beneath a bridge.
Up to 100 bodies, many with their throats slit, have been found in a mass grave on the edge of a town in northeast Nigeria after it was freed from Boko Haram militants,reports Sky News. Soldiers from Chad and Niger who have liberated Damasak from the Islamist group said they discovered the bodies under a bridge on one of the main roads leading out of the town.
Chad’s military spokesman Colonel Azem Bermandoa Agouna said: “There are about 100 bodies spread around under the bridge just outside the town… this is the work of Boko Haram.” A Reuters witness said they had counted at least 70 bodies. Col Agouna, who visited the scene himself close to the border with Niger, claimed the massacre probably occurred about two months ago because the bodies were partially mummified by the dry desert air.
He said several of the victims had been decapitated while others had been shot. “There are heads here and bodies there, the mass grave has become like a termite mound,” he added. Damasak was seized by Boko Haram in November but recaptured by troops from Niger and Chad on 9 March as part of a multinational effort to wipe out the militants. All but around 50 of the town’s residents had fled by the time Damasak was recaptured. Those who remained were mostly too old or too sick to leave.
Damasak resident Mbodou Moussa said: “People were in town when they (Boko Haram) attacked, they fired at us, we ran away to the bushes but they continued to fire and chased some people to kill them.” Boko Haram has killed thousands of people in a six-year insurgency aimed at establishing an Islamic caliphate in northeast Nigeria.
The regional offensive was launched this year with Chad, Niger and Cameroon as Nigeria, Africa’s most populous country and biggest economy, prepares for presidential elections on 28 March. Nigeria’s president Goodluck Jonathan has been criticised for not doing enough to tackle the insurgency. His challenger Muhammadu Buhari has campaigned on a reputation for toughness gained when he was military ruler of Nigeria in the 1980s.