BORNO: Boko Haram Kill 40, Torch 300 Homes, Wound Dozens (UPDATED)

BORNO: Boko Haram Kill 40, Torch 300 Homes, Wound Dozens (UPDATED)

Islamist insurgents last week killed a total of 40 people and wounded a lot of others in restive northeast Nigeria, a local official said Monday, with the attack happening two days before a deadly ambush on a wedding party.

The attack was carried out by some 70 gunmen who stormed the town of Bama in Borno state late Thursday in a convoy of motorcycles and pickup trucks, said Baba Shehu, of the area’s local government.

According to the official information, 40 people were killed and 12 injured. About 300 houses were burnt.

Bama and other remote northeast areas have faced a series of brutal attacks recently,despite the assurances that the insurgents have been weakened by an ongoing military offensive. Details of massacres in Borno have typically been slow to emerge.

The mobile phone network in the area has been switched off since May, when President Goodluck Jonathan declared a state of emergency across the northeast and launched the military operation.

According to Shehu, who blamed the Bama attack on Boko Haram, the gunmen also destroyed 40 shops and stole somewhat four million naira ($25,000, 19,000 euros) from Bama residents.

In a separate incident, he said 13 people travelling in a passenger bus in the same area were “ambushed by the (Islamist) militants and murdered in cold blood” on Saturday.

No other details were provided about the attack.

Also on Saturday in Borno, suspected Boko Haram gunmen killed 30 people in a wedding party, including the groom.

In 2009, the insurgency was largely concentrated in Borno but later spread across the wider north and as far south as the capital Abuja. A Human Rights Watch toll earlier this year said the ongoing conflict has cost more than 3,600 lives, including those killed by security forces who have been accused of major abuses, although the current figure is certainly much higher.

The military maintains that its massive offensive against the Islamists, which has included aerial bombings, has left the group in disarray and contained the rebel fighters in remote parts of the northeast.

But a major attack last month in Damaturu, the heavily fortified capital of northeastern Yobe state, cast doubt on that claim. Shekhau claimed responsibility for the attack in a video released on Sunday and obtained by AFP.

On December 14, the President will decide whether to extend the state of emergency or not. Some analysts claim that the emergency measures have proved effective, the other are sure that Boko Haram could still regroup and resume attacks on a range of targets across the country.



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