Nigeria's President Goodluck Jonathan. Photo Reuters
Suspected insurgents armed with guns and explosives have
killed at least 62 people in northeast Nigeria, including at a
church service, in a region where Islamist sect Boko Haram is
resisting a military crackdown, witnesses say.
They killed 22 people by setting off bombs and firing into
the congregation in the Catholic church in Waga Chakawa
village in Adamawa state on Sunday, before burning houses and
taking residents hostage during a four-hour siege, witnesses
On Monday, a separate assault by suspected members of the
shady sect killed at least 40 people in Kawuri village, in
remote northeastern Borno state, security officials said. No
one immediately claimed responsibility for either attack.
President Goodluck Jonathan is struggling to contain Boko
Haram in remote rural regions in the country's northeast
corner, where the sect launched an uprising in 2009.
Boko Haram, which wants to impose sharia law on a country
split roughly equally between Christians and Muslims, has
killed thousands over the past four and a half years and is
considered the biggest security risk in Africa's top oil
exporter and second largest economy after South Africa.
Its fighters' favourite targets have traditionally been
security forces, politicians who oppose them and Christian
minorities in the largely Muslim north.
The spokesman for the Catholic Diocese of Yola, Reverend
Father Raymond Danbouye, confirmed 22 people killed in the
church were buried at a funeral on Monday.
The military and police did not respond to requests for
comment but one army source confirmed the church attack,
asking not to be named because he wasn't authorised to speak
with the media.
Waga Chakawa is near the border with Borno state, in which
the second attack occurred that killed at least 40 people.
Several witnesses put the figure at 50, although none had
counted the numbers of bodies themselves. They added that the
militants had burned down the village and set off multiple
explosions, shooting anyone trying to flee.
"The whole village has been razed by Boko Haram and there
were still loud explosions from different directions as I
left, with bodies littering the village," said resident
Bulama Kuliri, who narrowly escaped.
An army spokesman did not immediately respond to a request
Jonathan replaced his chiefs of defence, army, navy and air
force last week in a widespread military shake-up. No reason
was given for the overhaul, but security experts believe
there was a need for a change of tactics in combating Boko
Jonathan declared a state of emergency in three northeastern
states in May last year and launched an intensified military
campaign to try to end the insurgency.