At least 56 people died in two attacks in the northeastern Nigerian state of Borno, as the leader of the militant Islamist Boko Haram group vowed to continue its fight against the country’s military.
At least 44 people were killed on Aug. 10 by gunmen wearing military uniforms who attacked a mosque in Konduga, about 700 kilometers (435 miles) northeast of the capital, Abuja, Mohammed Ibrahim, a resident who fled to neighboring Yobe state, said in a phone interview. Ali Dalori, a lawmaker from Borno, confirmed the attack, though he couldn’t provide details.
Another 12 people were shot dead at Ngom village near Konduga on Aug. 11, Ibrahim said. “Some suspected Boko Haram members, who were over 100 in number, invaded our villages dressed in military uniforms before killing our people,” he said.
Boko Haram, whose name means “Western education is a sin” in the Hausa language, has killed thousands of people in gun and bomb attacks since 2009 in the mainly Muslim north and Abuja, in its campaign to establish an Islamic state in Africa’s largest oil producer. Nigeria’s more than 160 million people are roughly equally split between Christians, predominant in the south, and Muslims.
Abubakar Shekau, Boko Haram’s leader, yesterday claimed responsibility for a series of attacks in Borno and Yobe states and said the group planned further assaults. Its strength hasn’t been dented, he said, three months after President Goodluck Jonathan declared emergency rule in the northeastern states of Borno, Yobe and Adamawa, granting the armed forces sweeping powers to quell the group’s activities.
“We have killed countless soldiers and we are going to kill more,” Shekau said in an e-mailed video.
Nigerian troops began an air and ground offensive against the militants on May 16, in a campaign that included bombing their camps by planes two days after the emergency rule was declared. Jonathan said the measure was necessary as the insurgents had taken over parts of Borno state.
“A lot has been said against us: that we are finished, they have finished with us. All these are lies,” Shekau said. “We are alive. Nobody killed us, and we shall continue to kill until Boko Haram is accepted by the people,” he said.
Calls to the joint military and police task force in Borno and police officials in the state didn’t connect when Bloomberg sought comment on the two latest attacks.
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