Nigerian extremists attack villages, kill 37 and raze huts

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Boko Haram extremists have burned down six northeast Nigerian villages and killed 37 people near the insurgents’ Sambisa Forest stronghold, a survivor said on Friday.

Ahmed Ajimi, a fighter in the anti-Boko Haram Nigerian Vigilante Group, said many victims of Wednesday night’s attacks were farmers who had recently returned home after soldiers earlier this year forced the extremists out of the area where they had declared an Islamic caliphate.

Now they are refugees again, with many survivors suffering gunshot wounds and burns, Ajimi told The Associated Press in a telephone call from Biu town, 100 kilometers (60 miles) west of the destroyed villages.

Hit-and-run attacks and suicide bombings have continued. Boko Haram last week denied Nigerian military reports that militant fighters are hemmed into the Sambisa Forest and claimed its fighters still hold towns hundreds of kilometers (miles) away. There was no way to verify the competing claims.

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