Boko Haram brags after 44 gunned down in Nigerian mosque

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 14 August, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 14 August, 2013, 3:44am


Suspected Islamic militants wearing army fatigues have gunned down 44 people praying at a mosque in northeast Nigeria, while 12 civilians died in an apparently simultaneous attack.

Sunday's attacks were the latest in a slew of violence claimed by religious extremists in Nigeria, where Boko Haram, which wants to oust the government and impose Islamic law, poses the greatest security threat in years.

It was not immediately clear why the Islamic Boko Haram would have killed worshipping Muslims, but the group has in the past attacked mosques whose clerics have spoken out against religious extremism. Boko Haram has also attacked Christians outside churches, and teachers and schoolchildren, as well as government and military targets.

The news about Sunday's violence in Borno state, one of three in the northeast under a military state of emergency, came as journalists received a video featuring Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau, who gloats over recent attacks, threatens more, and even says his group is now strong enough to go after America.

The mosque slayings occurred on Sunday morning in Konduga town near Maiduguri, the capital of Borno state.

Four members of a civilian militia that works with the military were also killed when they reached Konduga and encountered fierce resistance.

The attackers wore camouflage uniforms used by the Nigerian army.

On their way back from Konduga, the security forces came upon the scene of another attack at Ngom village, where the militia counted 12 bodies of civilians.

Nigeria declared a state of emergency in much of the northeast on May 14 to fight the onslaught after Boko Haram fighters took over several northeastern towns and villages in this nation that is divided almost equally between the predominantly Muslim north and the mainly Christian south.

In the video, Shekau brushes off any gains asserted by the security forces. "We have killed countless soldiers and we are going to kill more," he bragged.