Residents from the northeastern Nigerian town of Gwoza say Boko Haram militants killed dozens of locals on Wednesday, reports Agence France-Presse.
Townspeople told the news agency that many had fled their homes to escape the violence.
“Dozens of our people have been killed by the attackers, some were slaughtered and many others shot with guns,” said resident James Mshelia to AFP.
Boko Haram is blamed for the killing of more than 10,000 people since the start of its militant Islamist offensive in 2009 across northeastern Nigeria.
Gwoza has experienced Boko Haram’s savage attacks before. The town’s emir was killed by the extremists in May. On Wednesday, his son and successor, Mohammad Idrissa Timta, was said to be missing.
“From all indications, our emir is also missing because we don’t know his whereabouts,” said Halima Jatau, a resident fleeing Gwoza, to AFP.
Locals told a Lagos-based online newspaper, the DailyPost, that Nigerian soldiers were absent during the attack and that the insurgents are now in control of the town.
A high-ranking security official who requested anonymity told the DailyPost that Boko Haram had diverted soldiers’ attention 70 miles (110 km) west to the town of Damboa, before launching a surprise attack on Gwoza.
Boko Haram is also believed to be behind Wednesday’s attack in northern Cameroon that killed 10 people.