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Boko Haram Hits Rural Nigerian Market

Mainok, Nigeria

Boko Haram militants killed dozens of traders at a village market in northeastern Nigeria's Borno state, security sources said.

The attack Friday was the second major assault on the market in Mainok, 65 kilometers west of Maiduguri, the Borno state capital, within five months.

The weekly rural market draws hundreds of people from remote and surrounding communities who come to trade their farm produce and animals.

The militants rolled into town on trucks and motorcycles and attacked the market from all corners, said one trader who escaped by jumping into a fleeing vehicle. "Many people were being hit bullets fired by the Boko Haram insurgents," the trader said.

A number of traders ran 16 kilometers from Mainok to Jakana. "We saw many traders running into Jakana from Mainok, some with minor injuries who informed us that many people were killed," said an unidentified police officer in Jakana.

The officer said the traders described the militants surrounding the market and engaging in "selective killing, especially of traders from Jakana... some of the terrorists were heard shouting and instructing their colleagues not to spare people from Jakana."

Two military aircraft were seen flying towards Mainok, while ground troops stationed in Jakana have been deployed in pursuit of the terrorists, the officer said.

Boko Haram, which means "Western education is forbidden," has killed thousands of Nigerians in the past five years in attacks on schools, towns, markets, churches, mosques and various government targets. It has expanded its deadly campaign to gain territory for an Islamic state into other countries in the region.