Death toll in northeast Nigeria attack rises to 85

MAIDUGURI, Nigeria Tue Jan 28, 2014 11:39am EST

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MAIDUGURI, Nigeria Jan 28 (Reuters) - An attack by suspected Islamist Boko Haram insurgents on a northeast Nigerian village on Monday killed 85 people, up from 40 previously reported, officials said on Tuesday.

Boko Haram wants to impose sharia (Islamic law) on a country split roughly equally between Christians and Muslims. It has killed thousands over the past four and a half years and is considered the biggest security risk in Africa's top oil exporting state and second largest economy after South Africa.

Suspected Boko Haram rebels stormed the village of Kawuri, in remote northeastern Borno state where insurgents are resisting a military crackdown.

A local government councillor Dala Lawan said 85 people had been killed by gunmen who arrived in several trucks, dressed in military uniform, and opened fire on residents, burnt houses and torched small community mosques.

Lawan said some women were kidnapped by the assailants and 50 people were receiving treatment in hospital. Another local government official Ali Kaka confirmed the death toll.

In another attack on Sunday in neighbouring Adamawa state, suspected members of Boko Haram killed 22 people during an attack on a church service.

President Goodluck Jonathan is struggling to contain Boko Haram in remote rural regions in the country's northeast corner, where the sect launched an uprising in 2009. (Reporting by Ibrahim Mshelizza; Writing by Joe Brock; Editing by Mark Heinrich)

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