MAIDUGURI (Reuters) - Gunmen in military uniform abducted five people in eastern Nigeria, tied their hands and shot them dead, police said on Saturday.
The attack overnight took place in Dananaca village, Taraba state, which is usually peaceful but which suffered a bombing at the hands of Islamist militants last week.
“The police are still investigating to ascertain if the people are real soldiers and from which unit,” police spokesman for Taraba state Ibiam Mbaseki told Reuters by telephone.
“If they were genuine military men, they would have contacted us before carrying out such an operation, but we don’t know where they came from.”
Islamist sect Boko Haram, blamed for dozens of shootings and bombings since it launched an uprising in 2009, has sought to extend its reach to much of the north and the capital Abuja. The group has become President Goodluck Jonathan’s number one security headache.
Suspected sect members attending a wedding party on Saturday opened fire on a military surveillance team monitoring the event, killing three civilians, Lieutenant Colonel Sagir Musa of the joint military task force said.
Security forces combating Boko Haram complain that they hide amongst the civilian population, but the military’s heavyhanded crackdowns and summary executions of suspects has angered the already alienated population of northern Nigeria.
The sect’s armed struggle intensified after its spiritual leader Mohammed Yusuf died in police custody in 2009.
A bomb blast struck a police chief’s convoy in eastern Nigeria’s Taraba state on Monday, killing 11 people in the first such insurgent attack in the state.
A flurry of arrests of top figures in recent months had raised hopes the Boko Haram insurgency could be on the wane, but attacks in the past two weeks suggest they are very much still at large. Insecurity has spread across the north.
Suspected Boko Haram militants stormed a prison in their northeastern heartland on Friday, killing two guards and freeing the inmates, police said.
Gunmen threw bombs and opened fire on a cattle market in remote northeastern Nigeria on Wednesday, killing at least 60 people, a spokesman for the Yobe state governor said.
It was not clear if the killers were Islamists or a criminal gang.