Tags: Gunmen | Nigeria | Maiduguri

23 Killed in Separate Attacks in Nigeria

Sunday, 14 October 2012 09:48 AM

KADUNA, Nigeria -- Gunmen opened fire on Muslim worshippers as they were leaving a mosque in northern Nigeria on Sunday, killing at least 20 people, a local official said.

The attack happened in a remote village called Dogo Dawa, in Kaduna state, said Abdullahi Muhammad, the traditional ruler and councillor of Birnin Gwari, a local government area next door to the village.

In another attack, three people were killed Sunday by gunmen at  a Nigerian church in the northeastern Maiduguri, a military spokesman told Bloomberg News.

“A family of three was gunned down when they went out from church at Gwange ward,” Sagir Musa, a spokesman for the military Joint Task Force in charge of the region, told Bloomberg by phone from the city. A bomb targeting troops patroling the Bama area of Maiduguri exploded Sunday without any casualties, he said.

Authorities in Nigeria blame Boko Haram for a surge in attacks in the north and the capital, Abuja, since 2009.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack in Kaduna's Dogo Dawa. Like much of northern Nigeria, Kaduna is plagued by an insurgency led by radical Islamist sect Boko Haram. They usually attack security forces, government officials or Christians, but have hit Muslim clerics and mosques in the past, especially ones that do not follow their hardline brand of Islam.

Kaduna also lies close to Nigeria's volatile "Middle Belt," where Nigeria's mostly Muslim north and largely Christian south meet, and where tensions over land and ethnicity often erupt into violence.

But Abdulladhi said the attack was most likely carried out by a local criminal gang.

"We are suspecting a reprisal attack by gangs of armed robbers who lost some of their members after a recent exchange of fire with the villagers and the vigilantes," he said.

"The village had been terrorized by an armed group operating from camps in the forest. These armed men mostly attack villages and motorists along the busy Kaduna to Lagos highway."

The state police commissioner Olufemi Adenaike confirmed the incident, but said he could not yet confirm the death toll.

The Islamist insurgency in northern Nigeria and weapons flooding in from its neighbors on the threshold of the Sahara have aggravated levels of violence in the region. Armed robberies and local disputes degenerating into deadly shootouts are increasingly common across the impoverished north.

Nigeria’s population of more than 164 million is split almost equally between Christians in the south and Muslims in the north. The West African nation is Africa’s largest oil producer and sub-Saharan Africa’s second-biggest economy.

© 2021 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.

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Three people were killed Sunday by gunmen in an attack on a Nigerian church in the northeastern Maiduguri, a military spokesman said.
Sunday, 14 October 2012 09:48 AM
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