Gunmen kill 18 hunters in northeastern Nigeria
Updated: 2013-01-23 04:02
MAIDUGURI, Nigeria - Gunmen suspected to be militants of the Boko Haram sect killed 18 hunters in Nigeria's northeastern state of Borno, a senior military source told Xinhua on Tuesday.
The local hunters were shot dead in a market on Monday afternoon at Damboa, a small community located about 90 km south of Maiduguri, the state capital and the epicenter of Boko Haram attacks since 2009.
"The market was thrown into confusion as everybody ran into different directions," the army officer who declined to be named told a Xinhua correspondent in Maiduguri.
Borno State Deputy Governor Zanna Mustapha, who visited the town on Tuesday, was informed by district head Abba Ahmed that the gunmen came in a Golf car and went straight to the unit where bush meat was being sold.
"They opened fire on the hunters, 13 of the hunters died on the spot while five died later in the hospital," the district head said.
According to him, the hunters were involved in the business of selling bush meat, particularly monkeys and wild pigs.
He said reports from residents showed that some unknown persons had earlier forewarned the local hunters against selling monkeys and wild pigs which were believed to be forbidden in Islam.
The deputy governor urged the security troops deployed to the area to exercise restraint in dealing with local residents.
He asked the residents be allowed to go about their normal businesses, while urging them to cooperate with security agencies and provide credible information.
Borno State has become a flashpoint, with the government imposing and lifting curfews amid waves of attacks, which were often linked to Boko Haram being active in Nigeria's northern and central regions.
Thousands of people including women and children have died since the sect launched an uprising in 2009.
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