Lagos, Nigeria (PANA) - Gunmen suspected to be members of the Islamic sect Boko Haram on Wednesday killed seven people when they stormed a popular market in Maiduguri, capital of northern Borno state, considered the home base of the sect, according to local media reports Thursday.
The reports said the gunmen, numbering four, stormed the market mid afternoon and fired sporadically at shop owners, killing the seven in the process.
But a spokesman for the military Joint Task Force (JTF) deployed to the state. Lt.-Col. Sagir Musa, sought to downplay the incident by saying only one person died in the shooting.
“Information at the disposal of the JTF indicate that there is rumour going round Maiduguri that three people were shot dead by suspected members of the Boko Haram at the Monday Market. This led to serious apprehension which made some people to close their shops on hearing the news,'' the local Daily Trust newspaper quoted the spokesman as saying.
“It was discovered that there was sporadic shooting for about three minutes which led to the death of one person. The whole area surrounding the market was condoned off and during a search of nearby houses, a double barrel gun and 23 rounds of ammunition were discovered,” he added.
Since launching its violent campaign to impose the Islamic Sharia code on secular Nigeria in 2009, the sect has killed over 1,200 people, and has continued to engage in almost daily attacks.
Informal talks aimed at ending the insurgency ended abruptly last month when the mediators pulled out, citing government's insincerity.
-0- PANA SEG 5April2012