Suspected Islamists kill at least 65 in Nigeria

President condemns attack on funeral in northeastern Borno region

Ashes on the ground in Budu near Maiduguri an attack on a funeral in northeast Nigeria left 65 people dead. Photograph: Audu Marte/AFP/Getty Images

Ashes on the ground in Budu near Maiduguri an attack on a funeral in northeast Nigeria left 65 people dead. Photograph: Audu Marte/AFP/Getty Images

 

At least 65 people died in twin attacks by suspected Islamists in Nigeria’s northeastern Borno region, state television reported on Sunday, one of the deadliest attacks on civilians in recent years.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility, though the Boko Haram group and its Islamic State splinter group have often carried out attacks in the area.

Local government chairman Mohammed Bulama was quoted as saying on state television that the assailants killed 21 people returning from a funeral in a first attack and a further 44 as people tried to regroup in self-defence.

The death toll may rise, he said, given others were injured.

Borno state is the epicentre of the Boko Haram and related Islamic State in West Africa insurgency. The conflict has lasted a decade, during which time the militants have killed thousands and millions have fled from their homes in the region.

Resident Bakura Mallam Amadu said he saw the insurgents gather before firing on the funeral attendees, while a security source said Islamists attacked on motorbikes and in vans.

Nigerian president Muhammadu Buhari condemned the attack. He directed the country’s air force and army to begin air patrols and ground operations to hunt down the attackers, the president said in a statement. Nigeria’s military declined to comment. – Reuters