Latest update: 02/11/2012
Nigerian youths 'executed' in Boko Haram stronghold
At least 30 people were killed when Nigerian troops carried out raids targeting the militant Islamist sect Boko Haram, officials reported on Friday, as a prominent ex-general was gunned down in his home by suspected insurgents.
By FRANCE 24 (text)
Nigerian troops shot dead at least 30 people during raids in the northeast city of Maiduguri, bastion of the radical Islamist sect Boko Haram, witnesses and hospital staff said on Friday.
In a separate incident on Friday, unknown gunmen shot dead a prominent ex-general at his home in an attack which had the hallmarks of Boko Haram.
The insurgents want to create an Islamic state in Nigeria and its fighters have killed hundreds in bomb and gun attacks targeting security forces, politicians and civilians since launching an uprising in 2009. The sect has become the top security threat to Africa’s biggest energy-producing state.
Three witnesses told Reuters on Friday that soldiers from the Joint Task Force (JTF) raided several neighbourhoods in Maiduguri late on Thursday and arrested or shot dead dozens of young men.
“More than 30 bodies were brought in by the JTF yesterday and most of them were young men,” a nurse at one Maiduguri hospital Yagana Bukar told Reuters. The military spokesman in Maiduguri did not respond to requests for comment.
“Yesterday around the Gambaru area, soldiers raided places with an insider who pointed to suspected terrorists and they just killed some of them on the spot and others were taken away,” a civil servant who saw the attacks told Reuters, asking not to be named. He said he saw more than 40 dead bodies.
In the same city retired Nigerian general, Mohammed Shuwa, who was a key figure in the 1960s civil war, was shot dead by unknown gunmen at his home, the military said.
"Four men initially thought to be his visitors... entered his house and opened fire on the general and his guests. One of the guests died on the spot while the general died on the way" to the hospital, said Lieutenant Colonel Sagir Musa.
In an interview at his home in May, Shuwa told AFP that he could potentially be targeted by Boko Haram Islamists who have carried out scores of attacks in the city, which is considered their home base.
It was not clear who killed the general, but the shooting resembled those previously carried out by the Islamists who have repeatedly targeted prominent local figures.
Amnesty International said in a report on Thursday that the JTF had committed human rights abuses in its fight against Boko Haram that were fuelling the insurgency.
The report said the JTF had carried out executions in the streets and tortured people without bringing any charges against them. Nigerian police said they would investigate the matter.
(FRANCE 24 with wires)