Nigeria Market Attack: At Least 45 Killed by Boko Haram Militants

Tuesday, 28 Jan 2014 09:05 AM

By Clyde Hughes

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At least 45 people were killed and another 26 were injured in Nigeria late Sunday when suspected Boko Haram militants fired on a village market in the country's state of Borno, burning as many as 300 homes in their wake, authorities told CNN.

The Islamist militant group Boko Haram has waged violence in northeastern Nigeria in an effort to impose strict Sharia law over the region. Borno is one of three northeastern Nigerian states under attack that been in a state of emergency since May. 

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BBC News reported that the Nigerian states of Adamawa and Yobe are also facing a state of emergency because of Boko Haram. "Boko Haram" translates to "Western education is forbidden." 

Borno Police Commissioner Lawan Tanko told CNN that alleged militant gunmen arrived in the Borno village of Kawuri in all-terrain vehicles, shot at people shopping in the market as it closed, and then burned several homes.

One of the merchants, Isa Ibrahim, said that the suspected attackers hid their intentions by pretending to be traders. Ibrahim said that it appeared that they planted bombs before the attack.

Scores of civilians were also killed in the house fires. The Associated Press reported at least 300 homes were burned down in the incident. 

"No house was left standing," witness Ari Kolomi said, as he fled from the village to Borno's capital of Maiduguri 43 miles away. "The gunmen were more than 50 (in number); they were using explosives and heavy-sounding guns."

The Associated Press reported that suspected militants ransacked a Roman Catholic church during Sunday morning mass in the Adamawa village of Wada Chakawa, setting off explosives and taking some attendees hostage.

The Rev. Raymond Danbouye, a spokesman for the Catholic Diocese of Yola, said that dozens of people were killed in the attack that lasted about five hours.

"They used explosives during the attack on worshippers, and many people lost their lives," witness Moses Apogu said.

BBC News reported that since May's state of emergency, the United Nations estimates that more than 1,200 have been killed in suspected Islamist-related violence.

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