Nigeria, January 7, 2012 – Witnesses say gunmen have killed at least 17
people in northeastern Nigeria after storming a town hall where a
Christian ethnic group was meeting.
Friday's violence targeting the Ignbo ethnic group is the latest in a
series of attacks blamed on the Boko Haram Islamist sect.
During a phone conference with journalists, a purported spokesman for
the radical group claimed responsibility for the deadly outburst in the
Mubi district of Adamawa state, near the border with Cameroon.
The spokesman, known as Abu Qaqa, also said Boko Haram was responsible
for an attack on a church in Gombe state late Thursday that killed six
people and wounded 10.
Earlier this week, the group warned Christians in the largely Muslim
north to leave the region in three days or face death.
Boko Haram has claimed responsibility for a number of recent attacks in
Nigeria, including the Christmas day bombing of a Catholic church near
Abuja that killed more than 30 people.
The sect, whose name means "Western education is a sin" in the Hausa
language, has been blamed for dozens of deadly shootings and bombings
mostly in the country's north.
It is fighting to implement a radical interpretation of Islamic law
across Nigeria, which is divided between a primarily Muslim north and a
mainly Christian south.
Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan declared a state of emergency in 15
regions last week, closing parts of the borders with Niger, Chad, and
Cameroon. Mr. Jonathan has vowed to crush Boko Haram, but his critics
complain that he has done little to rein in the group.