Suspected members of the Islamist militant group Boko Haram killed at least 42 people today in raids in the northeastern Nigerian town of Bama, according to local authorities.
The attackers hit a military barracks, prison, police station and government administrative buildings, according to military and police spokesmen. Twenty-two police officers, 14 prison officials, two soldiers, three children and a women died in the clashes, they said. Thirteen attackers were reported killed.
About 200 gunmen, who arrived in 18-seater buses and Toyota Hilux trucks mounted with machine guns, attacked a military barracks in the town, according to Army spokesman Sagir Musa. Two soldiers and 10 attackers were killed in fighting there, he said.
Attackers “came in army uniform pretending to be soldiers,” though genuine members of the military were able to detect them, he said.
At about the same time, attackers killed 14 prison officials in a raid that freed 105 inmates, Musa told reporters today.
The gunmen also burned down a police station and barracks as well as the local magistrate court and government offices. Some of the buildings were still ablaze when reporters arrived.
The police area commander in Bama town, Alhaji Sagir, told reporters that 22 police officers were killed, and three children and a woman were burned to death. Three attackers were killed by the police, he said.
The government of Africa’s top oil producer has battled Boko Haram since 2009. The group, which wants Islamic rule over the West African nation, has carried out gun and bomb attacks in the mainly Muslim north and the capital Abuja, killing hundreds of people.
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