Dozens killed in Boko Haram raid in Nigeria

At least 55 killed and 105 inmates freed in coordinated attacks on army barracks, a prison and police post in Bama town.

    Bama's police station, army barracks and government buildings were set on fire [Reuters]
    Bama's police station, army barracks and government buildings were set on fire [Reuters]

    Suspected fighters from the Nigerian group Boko Haram have staged an attack on the northeastern town of Bama, freeing over 100 prison inmates and leaving 55 people dead, the military said.

    Around 200 heavily armed members of Boko Haram arrived in buses and pick-up trucks and carried out the coordinated strike on Tuesday, first hitting the army barracks and the police station before breaking into the town's prison, military spokesman Sagir Musa told the Reuters news agency.

    Musa said 22 police officers, 14 prison officials, two soldiers and four civilians were killed, while 13 of the group's own members died, in what was one of the rebel's most deadly single strikes since a 2009 uprising.

    Gunmen freed 105 prisoners during the raid which began at around 5am (0400 GMT) and lasted almost five hours, Musa said. He said some of the attackers were dressed in army uniforms.

    Bama's police station, army barracks and government buildings were set ablaze, he said.

    "They came in army uniform pretending to be soldiers but were able to detect them," Musa said.

    Bama is a small, remote town in northeastern Borno state, Boko Haram's home state and the nucleus of its attacks.

    "The call to prayer was just being said at about 5am when the Boko Haram started shooting from all directions and we ran for our lives," eyewitness Amina Usman told Reuters.

    "One woman who could not run burned to death," Usman added.

    Boko Haram and offshoots such as the al-Qaeda-linked Ansaru, as well as associated criminal networks, pose the main threat to stability in Africa's top energy producer.

    Western governments are increasingly concerned about Nigerian fighters linking up with other jihadist groups in the West African region.

    Boko Haram wants to carve out an Islamic state in a country split roughly equally between Christians and Muslims. One of its chief demands is that its imprisoned members and family members are released and it has carried out several prison breaks.

    Attacks by Boko Haram have killed more than 3,000 people since 2009, based on figures from Human Rights Watch.

    SOURCE: Agencies


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    Survivor stories from Super Typhoon Haiyan

    Survivor stories from Super Typhoon Haiyan

    The Philippines’ Typhoon Haiyan was the strongest storm ever to make landfall. Five years on, we revisit this story.

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    Russian-Saudi relations could be very different today, if Stalin hadn't killed the Soviet ambassador to Saudi Arabia.

    We Are Still Here: A Story from Native Alaska

    We Are Still Here: A Story from Native Alaska

    From Qatar to Alaska, a personal journey exploring what it means to belong when your culture is endangered.