KANO: Suspected Islamist extremists have stormed a mosque and shot dead 44 worshippers as well as 12 other people in a nearby village in Nigeria’s restive northeast, officials said on Monday (Tuesday in Manila).
The attacks at the weekend were believed to be in revenge over citizen vigilante groups forming to help the military battle Islamist extremist group Boko Haram, which has been waging an insurgency since 2009.
“Gunmen believed to be Boko Haram members entered the mosque and opened fire on Muslim worshippers, killing 44,” a senior government official said on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak publicly of the attack in Konduga.
“We believe the attack was not unconnected with the cooperation residents are giving to security operatives in identifying and arresting Boko Haram members in their midst.”
A local official said suspected Boko Haram members also raided Ngom village in the nearby Mafa district and shot dead 12 people on Saturday night.
“Boko Haram members came into Ngom village . . . and shot dead 12 people on Saturday night,” the official said, also on condition of anonymity. He said they were shot at their homes.
Some residents spoke of the attackers in Konduga arriving wearing army camouflage, a tactic they have used in the past to disguise themselves, though those details had not been officially confirmed.
The violence came as Nigeria’s military pursues an offensive in the country’s northeast aimed at ending the insurgency, with a state of emergency declared in the region in May.