Up to 50 people killed in Nigerian market attack


Up to 50 people have been killed in a livestock market in northeast Nigeria after traders set fire to a suspected member of Boko Haram, triggering reprisals amid a surge in violence from the Islamist sect.

“A number of armed men shot their way into the market. I don’t know whether they were trying to steal cattle or money,” said Abdul Aziz, a moneychanger in Potiskum market, which attracts crowds from neighbouring Chad and Niger.

“One of the gunmen was caught and burned to death using a tyre and oil. People said the men were Boko Haram but there is a lot of anger and everybody is so scared these days.”

Hours after the first attack, a larger group of armed men surrounded the market and opened fire, witnesses said. Police spokesman Toyin Gbadegesin said: “At this point about 30 people were killed and the same number were injured.”

A police officer at the scene said: “It’s possible many more perished because families came to remove their dead.

“There are at least 20 burnt-out cars and [dead] animals scattered everywhere.”

Abou Diawa, a cattle trader from Chad, said he hid in a lorry full of oxen during the shooting spree.

“They started throwing explosives as we were closing for the day. They were even shooting cattle.”

Boko Haram says it is fighting to establish an Islamic state in Nigeria.

– (Guardian service)