Boko Haram killed at least 60 civilians in an attack on the remote town of Rann in northeast Nigeria earlier this week, Amnesty International said on Friday.
The human rights group’s Nigeria director Osai Ojigho said “at least 60 people” were killed while satellite imagery showed “mass burning” of structures used by displaced people.
“Eleven bodies were found within Rann town, and 49 were found outside,” the group said in an emailed statement, adding that some 50 people were still missing.
It quoted one of 10 civilian militia members who travelled to Rann to bury the dead as saying the bodies found outside the town all had gunshot wounds.
“This attack on civilians who have already been displaced by the bloody conflict may amount to possible war crime, and those responsible must be brought to justice,” said Ojigho.
The death toll made it the “deadliest” by Boko Haram on Rann, she added.
In January 2017, a botched Nigerian air strike intended to hit jihadists killed at least 112 people as aid workers distributed food.
Rann, which is some 175 kilometres (110 miles) northeast of the Borno state capital, Maiduguri, has now been hit four times since March last year.
In the first attack, three aid workers were killed while three others were kidnapped. Two of the three were later executed. The second attack happened in early December.
On January 14, fighters loyal to the Boko Haram faction led by Abubakar Shekau attacked a military position.
AFP has been told the remaining Nigerian soldiers also withdrew because they were not enough to fight off Boko Haram if they came in greater numbers.
Amnesty’s Ojigho said “environmental sensors detected fires” in and around Rann on Monday and Tuesday, indicating the jihadists returned after the troops pulled out.
Analysis of satellite images indicated the two attacks had left most of the town “heavily damaged or destroyed”, and “well over 100” structures had been burned down.
Many of the structures destroyed date back to 2017, indicating they had been constructed for those who had fled to Rann in search of refuge from the fighting.
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