x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

Gunmen kill 30 including groom in wedding convoy

Suspected Boko Haram terrorists attack wedding convoy in northeast Nigeria, killing more than 30 people including the groom.

YOLA // Suspected Islamist militants attacked a wedding convoy in northeast Nigeria and killed more than 30 people including the groom, a state government spokesman said on Sunday.

Military spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Muhammed Dole said only five people were killed in Saturday’s attack on the highway between Gama and Gwoza towns in Borno state. That road runs alongside forests that are a known hideout of the Boko Haram terrorist network.

But a minibus taxi driver said he passed many bodies on the road near Firgi village, where the wedding ceremony took place Saturday.

“We saw a lot of dead bodies killed by gunshots and some by the roadside that appeared to have been slaughtered” with their throats slit, the driver, who asked to be identified only as Shaibu, told reporters in Maiduguri, the capital of Borno state.

Shaibu said his terrified passengers wanted to turn back, but “I took the risk ... and said God is in control”.

Adamawa state spokesman Ahmad Sajoh said the wedding ceremony had taken place in Firgi village in neighboring Borno state and the groom and guests were driving home to Adamawa when they were attacked.

Last week, suspected extremists attacked a military checkpoint in the same area and witnesses said they killed at least four security force members and made off with army vehicles, weapons and ammunition.

Attacks continue in northeast Nigeria more than five months after the government declared a state of emergency and flooded three states that cover one-sixth of the country with troops and police officers.

They have driven the insurgents from major towns and attacked bush camps with aerial bombardments and ground assaults. Hundreds of combatants and civilians, mainly Muslims, have died in recent weeks.

The uprising poses the greatest threat in decades to the cohesion of Nigeria, which is Africa’s biggest oil producer and most populous nation of more than 160 million people divided almost equally between the mainly Muslim north and predominantly Christian south.

* Associated Press