Islamists kill 17 in northeast Nigeria, attack mosque

(Reuters) – Islamist militants attacked a remote town in northeast Nigeria’s Yobe state on Saturday, killing 17 people including five who were worshipping at a mosque, witnesses said.

They said dozens of gunmen surrounded the village of Buni Gari, shooting residents and setting shops and houses ablaze.

“There were too many of them to count. They were shouting ‘Allahu akbar’,” said an old woman who identified herself only as Kaka, glancing around at the mostly mud-and-thatch houses, many of which were stained with black soot or reduced to rubble.

“People were praying in the mosque and they surrounded it and killed them,” she told Reuters at the scene on Sunday.

Boko Haram militants, fighting for an Islamic state in Nigeria, have in the past year broadened the range of their targets beyond security forces, government officials and Christians to include schoolchildren and other civilians, sometimes massacring whole villages and abducting girls.

They regard all who do not subscribe to their austere, al-Qaeda inspired brand of Islam, whether Christian or Muslim, as apostates, although they only began attacking civilians in large numbers after the formation of pro-government civilian militia as a counterinsurgency tactic a year ago…

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