Islamist gunmen kill 23 in two attacks in northern Nigeria

Wed, Jan 23, 2013, 00:00

Gunmen killed 23 people in northern Nigeria in attacks that appeared to target gamblers and people selling “forbidden” meat that Islamist militants disapprove of, officials and locals said.

In the deadliest attack, late on Monday, gunmen opened fire at a market in the town of Damboa, targeting local hunters who sell bush meat from animals such as monkeys and pigs, which strict Muslims are forbidden to eat, a local official said.

“Gunmen suspected to be members of BH (the Islamist sect Boko Haram) came to the town market and shot dead 13 local hunters on the spot while five others died from their injuries at the hospital,” Alhaji Abba Ahmed said.

“They came to the market in a Volkswagen Golf car, carried out the operation and left,” he said

In a separate attack in the north’s biggest city of Kano, some 500 km west of Damboa, yesterday, suspected Boko Haram members riding on motorbikes shot dead five people playing an outdoor board game, witnesses and a hospital source who received the bodies said. Two others were wounded.

Damboa is in the remote northeast, the sect’s heartland near the borders with Niger, Cameroon and Chad. Boko Haram wants to carve an Islamic state out of Nigeria, a country of 170 million people split roughly evenly between Christians and Muslims.

The Boko Haram insurgency is seen as the top security threat to Africa’s leading oil and gas producer.– (Reuters)