Suspected members of the Boko Haram militant group have killed 44 villagers by slitting their throats in the northeast of Nigeria, an official says.According to remarks by the official from Nigeria’s National Emergency Management Agency on Saturday, the assailants attacked Dumba village in Borno state early on Tuesday, The Associate Press reported. Slitting the victims’ throats seems to be a new strategy by the militants since gunfire attracts security forces. The official, who was speaking on condition of anonymity, said the attackers also gouged out the eyes of some victims who survived. Army spokesman Brigadier General Chris Olukolade said on Friday that Boko Hram militants killed 35 people after opening fire on Muslims leaving a mosque in Dumba on Monday. Meanwhile, the phone lines and the Internet service remain cut in the region making it difficult to get more information. According to some reports, at least 79 people have been killed in the African country this week. On May 15, the Nigerian army launched an offensive against Boko Haram, a day after President Goodluck Jonathan declared a state of emergency in the three northeastern states of Borno, Yobe, and Adamawa. Boko Haram -- whose name means “Western education is forbidden” -- says its goal is to overthrow the Nigerian government. The group has claimed responsibility for a number of deadly gun and bomb attacks in various parts of Nigeria since 2009. Over the past four years, violence in the north of Africa’s most populous country has claimed the lives of 3,600 people, including killings by the security forces.