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Nigerian authorities implicate militant group in attack

Following a robbery and killing of two Indian nationals, Nigerian security authorities hint the attack may have been the work of militant group Boko Haram

A screengrab taken from a video released on You Tube on April 12, 2012 apparently shows Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau AFP PHOTO / YOUTUBE
A screengrab taken from a video released on You Tube on 12 April 12 2012 apparently shows Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau photo: AFP / YOUTUBE

Gunmen shot dead two Indians after storming their Gum Arabic factory early Wednesday morning in the northeast Nigerian city of Maiduguri, a military spokesman said earlier today.

The militant Islamist group Boko Haram is suspected, according to Nigerian authorities. Maiduguri has long been the stronghold of the miltant group.

“Information available indicates that suspected Boko Haram terrorists attacked a Gum Arabic factory operated by Indians located at Bayan Quarters in Maiduguri,” said Sagir Musa, spokesman for the military Joint Task Force.

Musa said the culprits made off with 99,000 Naira ($620) from the factory. He also said the attack left another Indian national wounded. The injured Indian national is receiving treatment at the State Specialist Hospital.

The incident is unusual because Boko Haram has a history of attacking religious targets  to further its goal of a strict Islamic Nigeria.  Boko Haram attacks having resulted in hundreds of deaths so far this year in a country evenly split between Muslims and Christians. To this end, foreigners are not usually attacked, nor are the attacks usually robberies.

Typical Boko Haram activities include bombing churches on Sundays and social venues that serve alcohol. Just last Sunday, a bomb blast killed a 10-year-old boy and wounded 10 others in the country’s Muslim north. The attack was thought to have targeted the Tundunwadan Dan-iya neighbourhood for its preponderance of bars and other night spots.

The group – formed in mid-2009- has been responsible for more than 1,000 deaths according to an Associated Press count. Other notable incidents include a prison raid in 2010 that freed many of its captive members.

Nigerian president Goodluck Johnson faces mounting pressure to curb the bloodshed as economic growth slows.

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