On the night of 5-6 May 2014, Boko Haram militants attacked the twin towns of Gamboru and Ngala in Borno State, Nigeria. Roughly 310 residents were killed in the 12-hour attack, and the town was largely destroyed. Most of the survivors fled to neighbouring Cameroon.
On the same night, Boko Haram again abducted eight girls aged between 12–15 from northeast Nigeria, a number later raised to eleven.
Gamboru Ngala accommodated the security garrison, which had left the town before the attack to pursue the perpetrators of the Chibok schoolgirl kidnapping. Borno State is considered pivotal for Boko Haram. According to the Nigerian senator Ahmed Zanna and several residents, the security forces left Gamboru Ngala after Boko Haram militants had spread rumours that the kidnapped schoolgirls had been spotted elsewhere.
Armed with AK-47s and RPGs, the militants attacked the town on two armored personnel carriers, stolen from the Nigerian military several months ago, motorcycles and pick-up trucks. The attack occurred in the night when some residents were still sleeping. The militants opened fire on the people at a busy market that was open at night when temperatures cool. Having set homes ablaze, the militants gunned down residents who tried to escape from the fire.
The official death toll was first set at 200 on 7 May. Later Ahmed Zanna reported that the death toll “is around 300”. That number was then refined by Zanna and local resident Waziri Hassan, both of whom reported at least 336 deaths.