Nigerian soldiers shot dead about 40 young men in the embattled northeastern city of Maiduguri during raids in four areas considered strongholds of an Islamist group, residents and a morgue attendant told AFP Friday.
A resident of the Kalari neighbourhood in Maiduguri, the home base of Boko Haram insurgents, said troops swarmed the area late Thursday and "segregated the young from the old."
"They asked our children to lie face down on the ground and then asked us to turn away our faces. All we heard were gunshots," said the elder resident, who requested anonymity and clarified that the victims were largely teenagers and those in their early 20s.
"They did the same in three other neighbourhoods. We went to the morgue to collect the bodies and we found 48 in all," he added.
A resident of the city's Gwange area told AFP that the alleged massacre was "like a movie scene."
The troops "picked young men from their homes and were shooting them dead before everyone and took the bodies away to the hospital. I have never seen something like this," he said, also requesting that his name be withheld.
A morgue attendant at the Maiduguri General Hospital said they "received 39 bodies yesterday which were brought in by soldiers. They all have fresh gunshot wounds."
A military source declined to comment on the allegations when contacted by AFP, saying only that if such killings had taken place, they were "unjustified".
In a report released Thursday, Amnesty International said Nigeria's military had committed massive rights violations in their campaign against Boko Haram, including summary executions, many of which were reported to have occurred in Maiduguri.