Nigerian troops killed more than 400 people in a raid in central Nigeria to avenge an earlier attack in which four soldiers died, a community leader said.
The assault took place in the villages of Kadarko, Kurmi and Wadata in Plateau state, Jessey Miri, the traditional ruler of the Kumbun community, said in a phone interview. The soldiers arrived in more than 40 trucks before killing residents and setting fire to their homes.
“The attack was massive and has left everyone in shock,” Miri said. At least 30 people died in the incident, Nigeria’s Daily Post newspaper reported, citing a local chief.
The West African nation’s military carried out an operation in the area as part of an effort to flush out militias who have attacked the region, Captain Ikedichi Iweha, spokesman for Nigeria’s Special Task Force, said by phone. He denied the soldiers hurt civilians.
The Nigerian army has fought an insurgency by the Islamist militant group Boko Haram over the past six years in a conflict that has left thousands of people dead. In February, at least 16 people died when assailants threw explosives from a moving vehicle toward a roadside bus stop in the Plateau state capital, Jos.
Boko Haram has kidnapped thousands of women as part of its violent campaign, which has included mass killings, to impose Islamic law in Nigeria, Africa’s biggest oil producer. Nigerian troops on Sunday rescued 260 women and children who had been held captive in the northeastern Adamawa state.