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55 killed in Boko Haram attacks, prisoners freed

Shekau and other Boko Haram members. PHOTO: AFP

Shekau and other Boko Haram members. PHOTO: AFP

Nigeria’s Boko Haram gunmen Tuesday launched coordinated attacks on military barracks, a prison and police stations in the northeastern town of Bama, killing 55 people and setting free 105 inmates, the army said.

“In these attacks, 55 people including two soldiers, some prison warders, policemen and civilians were killed,” said Musa Sagir, the military spokesman in Maiduguri, 67 kilometres from Bama.

“Heavily armed Boko Haram terrorists” launched the attacks around 5:00 am (0400 GMT), said Musa Sagir, the military spokesman in nearby Maiduguri, the Islamist group’s cradle and stronghold.

Shekau and other Boko Haram members. PHOTO: AFP
Shekau and other Boko Haram members. PHOTO: AFP

“Some of the gunmen attacked the military barracks but they were repelled. Ten of them were killed and two were arrested,” he said.

“But the gunmen broke into the prison, freeing 105 inmates, and killed all prison warders they could see except those who hid in a store where cooking utensils were kept,” he added.

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“In these attacks, 55 people including two soldiers, some prison warders, policemen and civilians were killed,” said Sagir.

Tuesday’s attacks came barely a week after 17 people were killed and many houses burnt following a series of attacks by the extremist group in the town.

It was not clear whether the militant group was avenging the killing some members of their sect in Baga between 16th and 17th April by multinational forces, comprising Nigerian, Nigerien and Chadian soldiers.

The Nigerian military high command admitted that 30 members of the sect were killed in the counter-attacks, after a soldier was killed in an ambush by the sect. An estimated 187 civilians were said to have died in the cross-fire. But the army has denied this, admitting only the death of six people. It’s other denial of burning few houses, as against several thousands claimed by human rights group has been punctured by contrasting satellite images of the fishing town, before the attack and after.

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