Boko Haram attacks town in Nigeria; police offer reward for schoolgirls

BY newsdesk  May 7, 2014 at 11:10 AM EDT
Nigerian Defense spokesman Maj. Gen. Chris Olukolade (center) speaks to civil society groups protesting the abduction of more than 200 schoolgirls in April during a rally in Abuja on May 6, 2014. Photo by Pius Utomi Ekpei/AFP/Getty Images

Nigerian Defense spokesman Maj. Gen. Chris Olukolade, center, speaks to civil society groups protesting the abduction of more than 200 schoolgirls in April during a rally in Abuja on Tuesday. Photo by Pius Utomi Ekpei/AFP/Getty Images

Islamic militants attacked a town in northeastern Nigeria, killing hundreds, an official said Wednesday, while police offered a $300,000 reward for information leading to the release of nearly 300 kidnapped schoolgirls.

The militant group Boko Haram is suspected of looting and setting ablaze buildings in the town of Gamboru Ngala, on the border with Cameroon, reported the Associated Press.

Borno state information commissioner Mohammed Bulama said the death toll was in the hundreds, and local newspapers put it at 300. The militants reportedly fired into a crowd at a busy nighttime market and set homes on fire.

Boko Haram also kidnapped 276 teenage girls from their boarding school in Chibok in Borno state on April 15. The militants threatened to sell them into slavery, launching an international appeal for their release.

As parents and advocacy groups rallied for the government to help the girls, Nigerian police offered a $300,000 reward on Wednesday for information leading to their rescue. They listed six numbers for residents to call with information.