61 die in Nigeria violence

2011-12-24 14:19

Maiduguri - At least 61 people have been killed during several days of fighting in northeast Nigeria between security forces and a radical Muslim sect responsible for a series of increasingly bloody attacks in Africa's most populous nation, authorities said on Saturday.

The fighting between suspected members of the sect known as Boko Haram and a joint task force of police and military began on Thursday in Borno and Yobe states in Nigeria's arid northeast corner bordering Cameroon, Chad and Niger. The fighting left residents cowering in their homes amid gunfire and explosions.

At least 50 people have died in Damaturu and Potiskum in Yobe state during the fighting, local police commissioner Lawan Tanko told The Associated Press on Saturday. In Maiduguri, the capital of Borno state, a mortuary official who requested anonymity because of the sensitivity of the matter told the AP at least 11 bodies had been brought in from the fighting.

The violence left at least two senior police officers dead in Yobe state, while a military spokesperson in Borno said that three churches had been bombed during attacks there.

In Yobe state, the fighting became so intense that the military ordered those living in a neighborhood surrounding Damaturu's central mosque to evacuate. After a deadline, soldiers riding in armored personnel carriers and tanks drove into the neighbourhood shooting, Tanko said.

"We were able to kill 12 of the Boko Haram armed sect and bombers," Tanko said. The police commissioner said officers also recovered Kalashnikov rifles, ammunition and explosives.

Boko Haram has launched a series of bombings against Nigeria's weak central government over the last year in its campaign to implement strict Shariah law across the nation of more than 160 million people home to both Christians and Muslims.

Boko Haram claimed responsibility for a Nov. 4 attack on Damaturu, Yobe state's capital, that killed more than 100 people. The group also claimed the August 24 suicide car bombing of the UN headquarters in Nigeria's capital that killed 24 people and wounded 116 others.

Little is known about the sources of Boko Haram's support, though its members recently began carrying out a wave of bank robberies in the north. Police stations also have been bombed and officers killed.

Boko Haram has splintered into three factions, with one wing increasingly willing to kill as it maintains contact with terror groups in North Africa and Somalia, diplomats and security sources say.

The sect is responsible for more than 450 killings in Nigeria this year alone, according to an AP count.

  • colin.dovey - 2011-12-24 15:35

    Too many people....too many factions.........opposite this a recipe for what is happening?

  • colin.dovey - 2011-12-24 16:10

    Ironically, the following was said of the Biafran War which ended in 1970 by Major Abubakar A. Atofarati "History tends to repeat itself.  However, there are exceptions of nations and men who had learnt from history to avoid collective and individual disasters or a repetition of such disasters.  I feel confident that Nigeria must join the group of these happy exceptions if we are to have political stability, economic progress, integrated development, social justice, contentment and be the epicenter of African solidarity.  Since the end of the civil war, Nigeria has made considerable progress in all these areas."

  • Nduduzo Maxzino Mncwabe - 2011-12-24 16:35

    We've got a long way to go as Africans....*sigh*

  • Saksak Motsepe - 2011-12-24 16:50

    I can't wait for such things to happen in South Africa

      colin.dovey - 2011-12-24 17:35

      Please elucidate.....such things being what? War? Conflict? Killing? Bombing? Surely that is not what anybody wants. Most sane and rational people want this country to prosper for ALL. People who ask for WAR, have NO IDEA of the implications and consequences. What the horrors of war are, no one can imagine. They are not wounds and blood and fever, spotted and low, or dysentery, chronic and acute, cold and heat and famine. They are intoxication, drunken brutality, demoralisation and disorder on the part of the inferior... jealousies, meanness, indifference, selfish brutality on the part of the superior.” An YOU can't wait?

  • rbphiri - 2011-12-24 17:47

    Boko Haram has launched a series of bombings against Nigeria's weak central government over the last year in its campaign to implement strict Shariah law across the nation of more than 160 million people home to both Christians and Muslims. The civil unrest in Nigeria at the moment is primary based on religion, the clush of Christian and Muslim ideologies, three churches had been bombed during attacks...The question is how far will Boko Haram go to implement strict Shariah laws? and what are Nigerian authorities doing to beef up security in the area? since this is not the first time Boko Haram has opted to use extreme terrorist techniques to convey its point across.

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