Suspected members of Nigeria’s militant Islamic Boko Haram sect killed a cleric and his assistant, three days after an opposition official was killed in a similar attack, a police official said.
Sheikh Bashir Mustapha, a 30-year-old Sunni Islamic preacher, and Mallam Sulaiman were shot dead in Maiduguri, capital of Borno state, by assailants riding on motorbikes, police spokesman Mai Mamman said in a phone interview yesterday. The gunmen fled after the attack, he said.
“No arrests have been made,” Mamman said.
On Oct. 6, Awana Ngala, vice chairman of the All Nigeria People’s Party, was gunned down by suspected Boko Haram members, while the residence of Goni Ali Modu, speaker of the Borno state legislature, was also attacked and a policeman was killed.
Boko Haram, which opposes Western-style education and draws inspiration from Afghanistan’s Taliban, attacked police stations across several northern Nigerian cities in July 2009, prompting the government to deploy troops. At least 700 people died in the fighting, leading Nigeria’s security forces to shell the sect’s headquarters in Maiduguri. Boko Haram’s 39-year-old leader, Mohammed Yusuf, was killed.
Gunmen suspected of belonging to the sect last month attacked a prison in the northern city of Bauchi, freeing 721 inmates, including Boko Haram members awaiting trial for the 2009 violence.
Nigeria, Africa’s top oil producer and most populous country with about 140 million people, is roughly divided between a mainly Muslim north and a predominantly Christian south. The West African country is scheduled to hold presidential elections in January.