Abuja: At least 60 people died in northeastern Nigeria when gunmen opened fire in a crowded cattle market, hospital sources and rescuers said Thursday.
The attack took place around 7 pm in Potiskum city of Yobe state.
"I can tell you that 60 people actually died during the attack," a top emergency official told Xinhua requesting anonymity.
The market in Potiskum, Yobe state, regarded to be biggest of its kind in the town was set on fire by the attackers in reprisal for a gang member who was burnt alive by an angry mob during a failed earlier attack yesterday.
Residents say traders had thrown a gallon of petrol and hung a tyre around the neck of the captured man and set him ablaze.
Up to 20 explosives and assault rifles were used during the attack, according to police spokesman Toyin Gbadegesin.
Vehicles were also burnt inside the market which was reduced to rubbles.
The injured were taken to hospitals for treatment as the dead were evacuated to morgues.
However, some families took their dead ones to early burial in order to conform to Islamic rites.
Though cattle thieves carry out violent attacks in northern Nigeria, recent ones have been ascribed to militant Islamic sect, Boko Haram.
The sect recently bombed houses of newspaper companies in Nigeria including influential Thisday, killing eight persons.
The sect says it has an avowed mission of turning the country into an Islamic state with Sharia rule.
But some analysts think there are political motives behind its attacks which equally targeted a United Nations building and killing scores last year.
Nigeria has a 180 million population evenly divided among Christians and Muslims with the former mostly found in the South while the latter has most members in the North.