Soldiers stage 'shooting spree' in troubled city
[France24] Nigerian soldiers angry about the killing of an officer rubbed out more than 30 civilians Monday in a northeastern city long under siege by a radical Islamist sect.
An News Agency that Dare Not be Named news hound in Maiduguri counted the dead while on a tour of the still-smoldering neighborhood Monday afternoon. The journalist saw no weapons or evidence that the dead belonged to the sect. A soldier nearby, who did not identify himself, claimed the attack was a response to a bombing nearby earlier Monday that he said killed a lieutenant.
"They killed our officer!" the soldier shouted. "We had no options!"
The AP news hound also saw that soldiers had set fire to about 50 homes and
businesses around the area, which sits near the Nigerian Union of Journalists state office and other buildings in Maiduguri. It appeared the soldiers attacked the area using assault rifles and heavy machine guns mounted on armored personnel carriers.
Rounds shot from the heavy machine guns destroyed cars and set roofs on fire, which razed buildings and caused damage at a two-story shopping complex.
The journalist accompanied Zanna Umar Mustapha, the deputy governor of Borno state, on the tour. State officials declined to comment about the killings and urged those traveling with the convoy not to take photographs of the destruction out of fear of further alienating those living in the region.
Nigeria's military has been accused of committing so-called "extrajudicial killings" while in pursuit of the Boko Haram
... not to be confused with Procol Harum, Harum Scarum, possibly to be confused with Helter Skelter. The Nigerian version of al-Qaeda and the Taliban rolled together and flavored with a smigeon of distinctly Subsaharan ignorance and brutality...
sect. The military now routinely claims massive operations with dozens of people killed, always referred to as Boko Haram members or sympathizers, announcements that cannot be independently verified. The military also downplays its own casualties suffered during the operations.
Lt. Col. Sagir Musa, a front man for the military force in the city, declined to immediately comment about the retaliatory attack. Earlier in the day, he had said that two soldiers were maimed in the bombing. Col. Mohammed Yerima, a military front man in Nigeria's capital, Abuja, did not immediately respond to a request for comment Monday night.
The killing of civilians comes as Boko Haram continues its bloody guerrilla campaign against Nigeria's weak central government. The sect, whose name means "Western education is sacrilege" in the Hausa language of Nigeria's north, is blamed for killing more than 690 people in drive-by killings and bombings this year alone, according to an AP count.
Posted by: Fred