At least 70 bodies were found near a Nigerian town government forces recently freed from Islamic extremist terror group Boko Haram, witnesses told Reuters Friday. Some of the bodies discovered had been beheaded.
Soldiers from Niger and Chad discovered the bodies, dumped near a bridge outside the northern Nigerian town of Damasak, liberated from Boko Haram Saturday, a Reuters witness said.
Authorities suspect the killings happened some time ago because the bodies appeared skeletal and partially mummified by the dry desert conditions.
Damasak fell to the brutal Islamist group in November, but troops from Niger and Chad managed to recapture it Saturday.
News of the atrocities came as Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan told the BBC Friday he hopes to retake all territory controlled by Boko Haram within a month.
Jonathan admitted Nigeria’s security forces were slow to act to the terror organization’s initial advance into the northeastern part of the country.
Nigeria’s army has claimed a series of victories over the militants recently. The country’s military said the militants no longer controlled the states of Yobe or Adamawa, two of the states that got the brunt of Boko Haram’s force during its invasion.
Meanwhile, eleven people were killed in a Nigerian border town attacked by Boko Haram, witnesses said Friday. The victims had recently returned to the town after military forces ousted the insurgents. One resident says Cameroonian forces immediately crossed the border when gunfire erupted Wednesday evening and drove the militants out.
More than 1.5 million people have been driven from their homes by Boko Haram's nearly 6-year-old Islamic uprising. Some 10,000 people were killed in the uprising just last year, according to the Washington-based Council on Foreign Relations.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.