Gunmen shoot dead at least five in Nigeria: official
Gunmen on Thursday shot dead at least five people, including a policeman, in two separate attacks in northern Nigeria, the police and army said.
“I can confirm that three people, including a police constable, were shot dead by four unknown gunmen riding on two motorcycles at an abandoned factory in Sharada industria area of Kano,” state police spokesman Rilwanu Dutse, told AFP.
Dutse said that the gunmen drove into the factory at 5:40 pm (1640 GMT) and shot dead their victims.
“Two died on the spot while the third person died in the hospital. The police have deployed in the area in search of the hitmen,” he said.
Although he did not name any individuals or groups responsible for the killings, Islamist sect Boko Haram has been known to carry out drive-by shootings in Kano, the largest city in northern Nigeria.
In the second attack, which took place in Maiduguri, capital of Borno state and base of the Islamist sect, an army spokesman said that two traders were shot dead by gunmen who fired shots at them in a major market in the city.
“I was informed of an attack in ‘Monday Market’ by some gunmen. Two traders were shot dead by the gunmen this morning,” spokesman of the military Joint Task Force in the state, Lieutenant Colonel Sagir Musa, told AFP.
Traders said that the gunmen shot dead four people, all of them Christians from the ethnic Ibo in the southeast, and fled after the attack.
“The gunmen came around 10:30 am (0930 GMT) and opened fire on their victims outside their shops. They have marked their targets and all the four people shot dead were Christian Ibo traders”, said a trader, who demanded anonymity.
“It was a targeted attack,” he added.
The Maiduguri attack came less that 24 hours after the government lifted a state of emergency it had imposed six months ago on Borno and three other northern states following a wave of attacks blamed on Boko Haram.
“The federal government has after a careful review of the security situation in the affected areas, resolved to end the state of emergency forthwith,” Justice Minister Mohammed Adoke said in a statement on Wednesday.
President Goodluck Jonathan imposed the measure on December 31 in the northeastern states of Borno and Yobe, as well as Niger and Plateau, in the centre of the country after attacks that claimed scores of lives.
He said at the time that the move was needed to “put in place appropriate confidence building measures to improve security in the affected areas”, but Boko Haram’s insurgency has continued unabated since.
Maiduguri was hit by a suicide bomb blast on July 13 that killed five people.
Jonathan on Tuesday expressed hope that the Boko Haram insurgency would end soon, although he has faced mounting criticism over what some call his failure to stem the violence.
Boko Haram, which has said it wants to create a strictly Islamic state in Nigeria’s mainly Muslim north, is responsible for more than 1,000 deaths in Nigeria since the middle of 2009.