Nigeria Islamists kill eight in bachelor party attack

MAIDUGURI, Nigeria Mon Dec 30, 2013 5:19am EST

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MAIDUGURI, Nigeria (Reuters) - Suspected fighters from Islamist group Boko Haram opened fire on a bachelor party in northeast Nigeria, killing eight people and wounding several others, witnesses said on Sunday.

Boko Haram is fighting to impose strict Sharia or Islamic law in mostly Muslim northern Nigeria, and has become a serious threat to Africa's top oil producer, although its insurgency is far from the oil fields of the southern Niger Delta.

Nigeria President Goodluck Jonathan ordered an all out offensive against the northeastern rebels in Africa's leading energy exporter. Though they retreated into a hilly area around the Cameroon border, the rebels have since stepped up attacks on both soldiers and civilians.

"Three Boko Haram members came on motorcycles at about 11 yesterday night," Abdul Usman told Reuters in the main northeastern city of Maiduguri, where he fled after escaping the attack on Tashan Alade village. "They were shooting indiscriminately."

Nigerian forces have stepped up the offensive against the rebels in the past few days after Boko Haram fighters armed with grenade launchers and anti-aircraft guns attacked an army barracks in the town of Bama.

(Reporting by Ibrahim Mshelizza; Writing by Tim Cocks; Editing by David Goodman)

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