Two attacks by suspected Boko Haram insurgents have killed 24 people in Nigeria\’s northeast in the latest violence believed to be in revenge against vigilantes, residents and officials said Tuesday.
A survivor and a hospital source spoke of 18 people killed in the town of Bama on Sunday. A resident and a military source said six people were killed in Damasak on Monday. Both locations are in Borno state, but are some 200km apart.
"They came in military uniform and pretended to be members of the JTF [security task force]," survivor Mallam Bakura Module said of the attack in Bama.
"They asked after members of the vigilante group … but they opened fire on members of the group."
The attack in Damasak along the border with the neighbouring nation of Niger happened at night time.
"They were shot in the middle of the night while sleeping in the house," said one relative, Mallam Ali Abdullahi.
A military official confirmed the attack.
The violence was the latest in a spate of such attacks apparently targeting vigilantes and local residents co-operating with them. Vigilantes have been credited with helping to push Boko Haram out of the region.
Last week, gunmen dressed as soldiers opened fire on worshippers leaving a mosque in the far northeastern village of Dumba, killing at least 35 people.
The Nigerian president, Goodluck Jonathan, declared a state of emergency in the northeast in May and the military immediately launched a major offensive in the region aiming to end Boko Haram\’s influence.
Fighting between Nigerian forces and Boko Haram has killed more than 3,600 people since 2009. Both sides have been accused of major abuses.
The group has claimed to be fighting for the creation of an Islamic state.
Nigeria\’s 160 million population is roughly divided between a mainly Christian south and mostly Muslim north.
Source: AFP and Agencies