Nigeria Says Toll in Latest Boko Haram Attack Above 300

The death toll in an attack by suspected Boko Haram militants on a town near Nigeria’s border with Cameroon this week has exceeded 300, a local official said.

Those killed by the Islamist group in the northeastern town of Gamboru included 16 police, Bakura Mustapha, chairman of the local government in the Ngala district of Borno State, said by phone late yesterday. He said an unspecified number of the victims were traders from Cameroon who had come to the town for market day.

Mustapha said he’d just come back from a visit to the scene of the attack, and had found carnage “far beyond my imagination.” He said no precise death toll is available yet because people have taken the bodies for burial in several different villages, some of them in Cameroon.

Nigerian security forces have been fighting for five years to crush an insurgency by Boko Haram, which is seeking to impose Islamic law on the country of 170 million that’s Africa’s biggest oil producer. Thousands of people have been killed in gun and bomb attacks, most of them in the largely Muslim north of Nigeria. The south is predominantly Christian.

International condemnations of Boko Haram have increased since the kidnapping of more than 200 Nigerian schoolgirls last month. The girls’ whereabouts is still unknown, and the U.S. is sending a team including military personnel to help find and rescue them.

A border bridge linking Gamboru with Cameroon was destroyed yesterday in an attack by suspected Boko Haram militants, Lagos-based ThisDay said today.