Suspected members of the Islamist sect, Boko Haram, who hid their assault rifles inside a coffin launched an attack against informants in Maiduguri on Friday, killing 13 people, witnesses said yesterday.
The suspects were soon found out and shot by security forces.
Soldiers, had on Thursday, also shot dead another eight suspected Boko Haram fighters in the city, leaving their bodies in a ditch in the restive city.
Friday’s attack by Boko Haram targeted members of a new youth vigilante group that has sprung up in Maiduguri, pointing out suspected members of the sect to the military.
The gunmen hid their Kalashnikov assault rifles inside a coffin draped in white cloth as if being prepared for a burial, allowing them to drive through the city’s numerous military checkpoints without being searched, witness Sheriff Aji said.
When they approached the vigilantes in a van, they pulled the rifles out from the coffin and opened fire, killing the civilians, Aji said.
“They continued shooting until they ran out of ammunition, then some courageous youth rounded them up and handed them over to the soldiers, who shot them dead as they attempted to escape,” Aji told The Associated Press. Aji said he counted eight dead suspected Boko Haram gunmen after the shooting.
Lt. Col. Sagir Musa, a military spokesman in the city, could not be reached for comment yesterday as security forces have shut down mobile phone networks throughout the northeast as part of the offensive.
The shooting comes after President Goodluck Jonathan declared a state of emergency on May 14 in Adamawa, Borno and Yobe States.
Friday’s attack likely was retaliation for vigilantes pointing out eight Boko Haram fighters to soldiers on Thursday. A security official told the AP that soldiers shot dead eight of the suspected Boko Haram members on Thursday night. The official spoke on condition of anonymity as he was not authorized to speak to journalists.