Maiduguri: Separate attacks in northeast Nigeria targeting a village and a wedding party killed at least eight people on Saturday in a region that remains under near-daily assault by a radical Islamist sect, authorities said.
In Maiduguri, the spiritual home of the sect known as Boko Haram, soldiers raided a wedding being held on behalf of a member of the sect, witnesses said. Boko Haram gunmen guarding the wedding opened fire on the attacking soldiers, witnesses said.
Witnesses who declined to be named out of fear of attracting the military or the sect`s anger said they saw both civilians and uniformed soldiers slump to the ground after being shot.
Lt Col Sagir Musa, a military spokesman, said three civilians were killed and four others were wounded in the attack. Musa said soldiers only began their attack after sect members opened fire on a military unit watching the site.
"The public is advised to avoid (any) wedding ... organized by Boko Haram terrorist group," he said.
Late yesterday in Taraba state, police say gunmen wearing military uniforms arrested and shot dead five people in a remote village.
Taraba state police spokesman Ibiang Mbaseki said today that witnesses told police the gunmen claimed to come from Abuja.
The spokesman said the police had no information about a military operation in the area and would continue to investigate the killings.
Killings in rural areas often get blamed on so-called "fake soldiers," attackers who wear military-style camouflage clothing during assaults. It remains easy to buy uniforms off the street in Nigeria.
Boko Haram, whose name means "Western education is sacrilege" in the Hausa language of Nigeria`s largely Muslim north, is blamed for killing more than 480 people both Christian and Muslim this year alone in Nigeria, according to an agency`s count.