MAIDUGURI, Nigeria (AP) — An official says suspected Islamist extremists killed at least 44 villagers in continuing attacks in an Islamic uprising in northeast Nigeria.

The official of the National Emergency Management Agency says the attackers hit Dumba village in Borno state before dawn Tuesday and slit their victims’ throats — a new strategy since gunfire attracts security forces.

He said the attackers gouged out the eyes of some victims who survived. The official spoke Saturday on condition of anonymity because he is not allowed to give information to reporters.

Nigeria Violence

A soldier looks out from under the brim of his helmet in Maiduguri, Nigeria, on Thursday, June 6, 2013. The writing on it reads: “God Trust: In God All Things Are Possible”. Maiduguri is the heart of Nigeria’s Islamic insurgency. Military officials took journalists on a tour there Thursday, but largely declined to give specific answers about what’s happening in the country’s fight against the extremists. (AP)

Dumba is near the fishing village of Baga where security forces in March gunned down 187 civilians in retaliation for an attack by extremists.

It is difficult to get information from the area under a state of emergency, with cellphone and Internet service cut.

Borno is one of three northeastern states under a state of emergency declared May 14 to crack down on the Boko Haram terrorist network.

Since 2010, more than 1,700 people have been killed in attacks by Islamic insurgents, according to an Associated Press count.