News / Africa

Maiduguri 'Preachers' Kill Dozens

Maiduguri, NigeriaMaiduguri, Nigeria
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Maiduguri, Nigeria
Maiduguri, Nigeria

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Suspected Islamist militants pretending to be preachers rounded up and killed at least 42 villagers in northeastern Nigeria, a police source said, as an escalating insurgency increasingly targets civilians.

The shootings on the outskirts of the city of Maiduguri late on Wednesday came a day after officials said raiders killed scores in three other settlements in Borno state, where the Boko Haram militant group first launched its campaign to carve out an Islamist caliphate.

The attackers, who were wearing military-style uniforms, drove into the village of Bardari, told people to gather for a sermon and opened fire, the police source told Reuters. "The people couldn't identify them in time as terrorists," the source added.
 
Boko Haram
 
  • Based in the northeastern city of Maiduguri
  • Self-proclaimed leader is Abubakar Shekau
  • Began in 2002 as a non-violent Islamist splinter group
  • Launched uprising in 2009
  • Has killed thousands since 2010
  • Boko Haram translates to "Western education is sinful"
  • Wants Nigeria to adopt strict Islamic law
No group claimed responsibility for the attack. But Boko Haram has stepped up its revolt and mounted nearly daily attacks in the area since it made world headlines in April by abducting more than 200 schoolgirls in another part of the state.

The mass abduction, and Boko Haram's resistance to military offensive, has increased political pressure President Goodluck Jonathan, who has faced regular street protests by activists criticizing his response.

Jonathan has accepted help from the United States and other foreign powers who are alarmed at the prospect of further turmoil in Africa's largest economy and oil producer, and its potential impact on a fragile region. Borno state borders Niger, Chad and Cameroon.

After Wednesday's shooting, militants then left, crossing a river and setting fire to houses in the neighboring village of Kayamla, said the police source.

"Boko Haram wreaked havoc in the villages. They burned houses and killed people mercilessly after tricking the residents," said Saleh Mohammed, a member of Civilian JTF — one of a number of vigilante groups that have sprung up to try to fight back.

Mohammed, who visited the site on Thursday, said survivors had told him the attackers pretended to be itinerant preachers.

Civilian vigilante groups, and villages seen as supporting then, have faced revenge attacks blamed on Boko Haram, which had focused mostly on military and government targets in the early days of its revolt.

Boko Haram has no direct line of communication with the Western press and its purported leader, Abubakar Shekau, only occasionally claims attacks through videos circulated to local journalists.

Jonathan and the army have said they are doing all they can to release the girls, but have warned any attempt to free them by force could put them at risk, while any deals or prisoner swaps could encourage more kidnappings.

Britain's Foreign Secretary William Hague will host a meeting of African and Western officials in London next week aimed at stepping up efforts to defeat Boko Haram, his office said on Thursday.

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Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: chibunna from: ekiti state
June 07, 2014 5:29 AM
pls i dont have much comment but am advising
good luck to divide this country we are not dsame tribe with those animals called hausa the are Arabic country

by: Godwin from: Nigeria
June 06, 2014 12:50 PM
It's all about talk-shop. First, France summoned all the African heads of states and governments to the lecture hall where it tutored them how to avoid further attacks and rescue the already captured ones. But I can remember that one such attempt a few months ago in Sokoto axis ended in fiasco, and it was spearheaded by France. Once again, maybe from indignation - after all Nigeria was British former colony, why should it be France and not Britain - William Hague wants to further lecture the Africans how to avoid the massacre of that which the US, behind the Nigerian kitchen doors at Chad and Niger, have failed to control. So much talking and very little action. Even to say they have discovered where the Chibok girls have been hidden under siege or held hostage. Too bad!

Talking about preaching and shooting the people at the same time, it would all have ended that way in any case. Because islamism may mean very little different from mortgaging the people through and through. They were as good as dead for accepting islam which has only way in and no way out. What was the guilt of the villagers who were killed after preaching the islamic sermon to them? It only proves the ethnic cleansing mission in the political arrangement of those sponsoring the sect. Jonathan has toyed too long with lives of innocent Nigerians in the faulty security arrangement to curtail boko haram by making mostly islamist officers heads of mission against boko haram thereby ensuring troops are starved weapons, intelligence, logistics, food and salaries. Look out there, who are the people and villages attacked? Mostly Christian communities within the predominantly but transiting muslim hegemony due to western education. Which is the fight otherwise called boko haram.

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