Originally published in CBN News
More than 100 members of the Islamic extremist group Boko Haram attacked the town of Garkida in Gombi area of the northeastern state of Adamawa, Nigeria on Friday night, opening fire on townspeople and setting fire to churches and houses, according to multiple media outlets.
At least five church buildings were destroyed, including two houses of worship belonging to the Church of the Brethren denomination, an Anglican Communion church, and a church and separate office of Living Faith Church, according to Save the Persecuted Christians (STPC).
A final toll of the casualties from the attack is unknown. Several media outlets reported “many people” were killed in the incursion. There were also unconfirmed reports of possible abductions. Thousands of people were also displaced.
The Boko Haram militants were riding on about 60 motorcycles with two men each carrying AK47s and RPGs. They were accompanied by 20 mounted gun trucks, according to the STPC.
Some reports indicate Nigerian security forces initially fought the attackers but had to retreat.
Other eyewitnesses tell a different story. A resident told Morning Star News reports of an impending attack by the Boko Haram reached the town at about 1pm on Friday, but Nigerian armed forces took no proactive steps to protect them.
“In spite of all the local intelligence reports on the afternoon of Friday, after the terrorists were sighted around Kwarangulum in Chibok Local Government Area, which is close to Garkida, no effort was made by soldiers stationed in the area to preempt the attack,” Manasseh Allen said. “I feel very sad about this.”
“People ran to hide inside the mountains while they watched their houses being burnt by the insurgents,” another resident told The Cable.
Residents told Nigerian newspaper the Daily Trust that the assailants first attacked a military checkpoint on Friday before razing public and private buildings in Garkida. The attackers held the town for hours, ransacking and looting buildings.
A local resident told the newspaper that the insurgents overpowered police and vigilante defenders before burning a police station, police barracks, church buildings, a hospital, and a health center and the homes of two local officials.
The Nigerian military later restored order and were patrolling Garkida’s streets on Saturday.
Although the Nigerian government claims to have defeated Boko Haram, the militant group and its offshoot Islamic State West Africa Province continue to carry out attacks in Nigeria.
As CBN News reported earlier this month, Islamic militants killed at least 32 people and burned a pastor’s house and church building in two nights of attacks in Plateau State.