Nigerian forces killed seven suspected members of the Islamist Boko Haram movement in a gunfight yesterday in the northeastern Borno state, while the same group killed five people in neighboring Yobe, police and military officials said.
The shootout in Maiduguri, Borno’s state capital, began when militants opened fire on security forces, Sagir Musa, a spokesman for the Joint Task Force in the state, said in an e-mailed statement today.
In Damaturu, the capital of Yobe, the killings by Boko Haram militants followed attacks on mobile phone transmission towers, Patrick Egbuniwe, police chief in the state, said by phone today. Officials said yesterday that the group had attacked similar targets in Maiduguri and the northern city of Kano, run by MTN Group Ltd.’s Nigerian unit, Airtel Nigeria, Visafone Communications Ltd and Starcomms Plc.
Boko Haram, which means “Western education is a sin,” said in February it would attack mobile-phone service providers because they have helped authorities track the group’s members, adopting a tactic that’s been used by the Taliban in Afghanistan.
Boko Haram says it’s campaigning to establish an Islamic state in Africa’s top oil producer. Over the past two years the group has carried out attacks in the mainly Muslim north and Abuja, the capital, targeting government buildings, churches, police, soldiers and Muslims who oppose its aims.