Lagos, Nigeria (PANA) - Soldiers attached to the military Joint Task Force (JTF) battling the Islamic insurgency in Nigeria's northern city of Maiduguri killed 30 people in a revenge attack on their patrol that left at least an officer dead, the local Punch newspaper reported Tuesday.
The rampaging soldiers also burnt at least 50 houses, shops and vehicles in the Gwange area of the town during the incident on Monday.
According to the paper, an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) believed to have been planted by member of the violent Islamic sect Boko Haram hit the JTF vehicle in the early hours of Monday and killed the leader of the patrol team, an unidentified Lieutenant, and injured other members of the patrol team.
The incident occurred along the popular Lagos Street in Maiduguri, capital of Borno state which is believed to be the spiritual base of the sect.
In retaliation, dozens of armed troops reportedly stormed the street and shot indiscriminately at the residents and motorists on the busy road leading to the University of Maiduguri Teaching Hospital.
Punch reported that some of the dead victims were killed inside their houses while their corpses were set on fire by the angry soldiers.
However, the JTF disputed the paper's account of what transpired in the city.
In a terse statement, JTF spokesman Lt.-Col. Sagir Musa acknowledged there was a blast along Lagos Street but said only two soldiers were injured.
''There was a bomb blast involving a JTF vehicle at about 7.15 am (Monday) along Lagos street in Maiduguri metropolis. It is feared that two soldiers were wounded and are responding to treatment,” Musa said, without giving any information on the reaction of the JTF soldiers
to the blast
The incident occurred a day after the JTF in nearby Yobe state said it killed 30 sect members, including a top commander, during a gun duel in the state capital, Damaturu.
Boko Haram has been engaged in a sustained insurgency against the Nigerian state since 2009, when their leader - Mohammed Yusuf - was killed by security agencies. Since then, the sect has killed over 1,400 people in gun and bomb attacks.
-0- PANA SEG 9Oct2012