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Suspected Islamist insurgents kill 29 in Nigeria

From Aminu Abubakar, for CNN
updated 8:05 PM EST, Mon March 3, 2014
A crowd looks at the aftermath of an attack by suspected Islamist insurgents that killed 29 people in a northeast Nigerian village.
A crowd looks at the aftermath of an attack by suspected Islamist insurgents that killed 29 people in a northeast Nigerian village.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Suspected insurgents sent fliers to warn of attack
  • Government soldiers fled in face of overwhelming insurgent force
  • 14 soldiers reported missing after attack, 3 reported killed

Kano, Nigeria (CNN) -- Suspected Islamist insurgents killed 29 people in northeast Nigerian village in an attack late Sunday that destroyed scores of homes and forced residents to flee into the bush, a senator for the region said Monday, in the latest carnage in a surge of violence that has left more than 100 dead this month alone.

A large number of insurgents in military uniform and armed with explosives, assault rifles and rocket propelled grenades attacked the town of Mafa, 30 miles (45 kilometers) from Borno state capital Maiduguri.

"Twenty-nine people have been buried from the attack by Boko Haram which destroyed several homes," Zanna said.

Islamists blamed for school attack

The insurgents sent fliers to the town earlier in the week, warning of an impending attack.

Following the threat, many residents fled, schools were closed and students relocated to other schools in Maiduguri. Military reinforcements were deployed to the town to contain any attack by the Islamists.

"But when the attack began, the soldiers fled because they could not match the firepower and numerical strength of the gunmen," Zanna said.

He said three soldiers were killed in the raid but "military sources have confirmed 14 soldiers are missing."

Borno's police commissioner Lawal Tanko confirmed the attack, but declined to provide details, saying police units had deployed to assess the damage.

A Mafa resident who asked not to be named for fear of retaliation said said 36 people were killed in the attack that started at 7:00 pm.

They razed several homes, he said, and warned that the death toll may still rise.

"Houses are still smoldering and we intend to search the debris for more bodies once the fire burns out."

"Many people are still in the bush too afraid to return for fear of more attacks," said the resident.

WATCH: Report of a January attack by militants that left dozens dead

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