Gunmen kill 22 in Nigeria church attack - witnesses

YOLA, Nigeria Mon Jan 27, 2014 9:00am EST

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YOLA, Nigeria Jan 27 (Reuters) - Assailants armed with guns and explosives killed 22 people in at a busy church service in a northeast Nigerian village, witnesses said on Monday, in a region where Islamist sect Boko Haram is resisting a military crackdown.

They set off bombs and fired shots into the crowd during the attack on the Catholic church in Waga Chakawa village in Adamawa state, before burning houses and taking residents hostage during a four hour siege, witnesses said.

President Goodluck Jonathan is struggling to contain Boko Haram in remote rural regions in the country's northeastern corner, where the sect first launched an uprising in 2009.

The shady sect, which wants to impose sharia law on a country split roughly equally between Christians and Muslims, has killed thousands over the past four-and-a-half years, and is considered the biggest security risk in Africa's top oil exporter and second largest economy after South Africa. (Reporting by Imma Ande; Writing by Joe Brock; Editing by Tim Cocks and Mike Collett-White)

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