Extremists Destroy 1K Homes in Nigerian Attack
Governor admits attackers are 'better armed and motivated' than military
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Feb 12, 2014 3:25 PM CST
A Nigerian soldier walks past a burned house following an attack in Kawuri, Maiduguri, Nigeria, Jan. 28, 2014.   (AP Photo/Jossy Ola)

(Newser) – Hundreds of Islamic extremists posing as soldiers attacked a northeast Nigerian town for hours, killing 39 people and razing a mosque and more than 1,000 homes, survivors said. In the ruins of the burned-out mosque, bodies covered in cloth lay ready for burial today, including three small shrouds covering children who did not look more than 10 years old. "Why us? Why us?" one woman wailed, trying to understand why militants set on creating an Islamic state in Nigeria would attack a town of mainly Muslim farmers.

Numerous villages in the area have been attacked and thousands made homeless in recent months, despite a 9-month-long military state of emergency to stop the Boko Haram uprising. Farmers told state Gov. Kashim Shettima that about 400 attackers swept in on apparently stolen army trucks, called people to them, then opened fire. They then went from house to house, setting them on fire with homemade bombs. Military aircraft finally drove the attackers off about four hours later. When angry residents asked Shettima why the military had taken so long to respond, she said Boko Haram militants "are better armed and better motivated." For more on the Nigerian conflict, click here.