Nigerian Islamists kill 27 in northeast attacks: official

MAIDUGURI, Nigeria Sat Sep 28, 2013 4:08pm EDT

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MAIDUGURI, Nigeria (Reuters) - Gunmen from Islamist group Boko Haram killed 27 villagers in two attacks in Nigeria's restive northeast this week, a government official said, as violence continued to flare in the face of an army crackdown on the militants.

Boko Haram wants to create an Islamic state in northern Nigeria and has become the biggest security threat in Africa's second largest economy and top oil exporter.

Six people were killed in an attack on Wednesday night in Gamboru, a remote town close to the Cameroon border in Borno state, local government chairman Alhaji Modu Gana Sheriff told reporters.

Sheriff said gunmen returned on Thursday night and killed 21 more civilians. A Borno military source said he thought the attacks were coordinated and confirmed the death toll.

Authorities have disconnected phone lines in Borno to try to disrupt Boko Haram's operations, which means it often takes days for news of attacks to reach state capital Maiduguri.

Violence has intensified over the past two months, as the Islamists fight back against a military operation that President Goodluck Jonathan ordered in May to try to crush their four-year-old rebellion.

There was an initial lull in the violence when the military operation started in May and Islamists fled their bases in cities, forests and mountains across the northeast.

But then the militants started revenge attacks, first on schools, seen as focuses of the Western culture they despise, then on the security forces and the civilians they believed were helping the army.

Several hundred people have died in attacks over the past few weeks. Some observers say the army offensive has only succeeded in pushing attacks away from well-guarded large towns and cities into vulnerable rural areas.

Thousands have been killed since Boko Haram launched its uprising against the state in 2009, turning itself from a clerical movement opposed to Western culture into an armed militia with growing links to al Qaeda's West African wing.

(Reporting by Lanre Ola; Writing by Joe Brock; Editing by Andrew Heavens)

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Comments (3)
ErnestPayne wrote:
The Muslim officers of the military and the imams have been furious since the Muslims of the north voted for a Christian president from the south of the country. This latest group is just another attempt to regain power.

Sep 28, 2013 10:17pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
silento wrote:
@ErnestPayne, the militants attacks have nothing to do with an election of a Christian President. They started their rebellion during the regime of late President Umaru Yar’adua who is a Muslim. And since their operations, they have killed more Muslims than Christian and they have destroyed properties belonging to Muslims more than any other, thereby pulling the entire economy of the North to a standstill. So how logical to say a group destroying the economy of a particular region is protecting that same region? To many people, what is happening is a conspiracy that is getting difficult to unravel. It is not logical to kill the people you want to protect.

Sep 29, 2013 3:15am EDT  --  Report as abuse
ErnestPayne wrote:
It is logical to keep them under control.

Sep 29, 2013 7:54am EDT  --  Report as abuse
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