KANO - Boko Haram gunmen killed at least 43 people and burnt down three villages in northeast Nigeria, residents told AFP Thursday, the latest in an upsurge of attacks by the Islamist militants. Dozens of rebels on motorcycles stormed Matangale, Buraltima and Dirmanti in restive Borno state, opening fire on villagers before looting and burning homes, fleeing residents said. News of the assault was slow to emerge due to poor communication in the region after Boko Haram destroyed telecoms masts in previous attacks.

"They came around 4pm on 20 motorcycles, three gunmen on each, and attacked Matangale before proceeding to Buraltima and Dirmanti," said resident Dala Tungushe.