Borno State in the northeast, where the latest violence occurred, is a Boko Haram stronghold and has seen a spate of similar attacks on locals in recent weeks. Boko Haram is a militant Islamist sect.
Residents of Gajiran, speaking to journalists in the state capital Maiduguri, said the gunmen involved in Thursday’s attack pretended to be traders attending a local market.
“Some of them came aboard trucks while others came on foot to beat the security checks at the entrance of the town,” resident Ibrahim Bulama said told Al-Jeezera.
They then “blended among traders conducting business,” before opening fire in the market, killing 15 people, he told reporters.
They also set fire to a local government building and a police post, he said.
Aisami Yusuf, another local speaking to journalists in Maiduguri, also put the death toll at 15 and provided a similar account.
Gajiran is roughly 52.8 miles from the state capital.
Cameroon struggles with thousands of Nigerian refugees
Voice of America reports that thousands of people have fled northeastern Nigeria since mid-May when the Nigerian military began an offensive against Boko Haram. Neighboring countries like Cameroon have been confronted with a double challenge as they try to meet the needs of civilians fleeing violence, while also trying to prevent infiltration by Boko Haram militants.
Pastor Daouda Dilmas is one of thousands of Nigerians who have fled into northern Cameroon in the past four months.
He fled with his family from the Goza local government area of Borno State in early June, according to the report. “We came here because of the Boko Haram attacks on us,” he said, adding that they had been calling on Nigerian authorities for help, but the intervention came too late.