Gunmen have attacked a wedding convoy in Nigeria’s northeastern state of Borno, killing more than 30 people including the groom in a suspected ambush, witnesses and survivors said Sunday.
The attack happened on Saturday on the notorious Bama-Banki road when the wedding party, including friends and relatives of the groom, was making its way back to the state capital Maiduguri after the ceremony in Michika, in nearby in Adamawa State, they said.
“It was a gory scene,” said a driver, who said he had seen the dead bodies on the highway.
The driver, who did not wish to be named, told AFP that many of the victims appeared to have suffered gunshot wounds.
“All the victims were brutally murdered by the attackers. My passengers and I were visibly shocked when we met the dead bodies lying by the highway,” he said.
The fate of the bride and her family members was still unknown.
Army and police officials in the area were not immediately available for comment. But a security source who described the incident as “brutal and callous” said the bodies had been transferred to a hospital in Maiduguri.
Violent attacks are not uncommon in northeastern Nigeria, where the army launched an offensive in May to end a deadly insurgency by Boko Haram Islamists.
Boko Haram has said it is fighting to create an Islamic state but the group is believed to made up of different factions with varying aims.
A string of attacks in recent months has cast doubt on the success of the military’s campaign. Some of the violence has targeted vigilante groups which have formed to help the military.
Boko Haram is known to have in the past staged attacks along the Bama-Banki road, a key traffic artery in the region.
The Saturday ambush came just over a week after suspected Boko Haram fighters launched a coordinated assault on security forces in nearby Damaturu, state capital of Yobe.
30-five bodies in military uniform were brought to a morgue following the October 24 attack, a hospital source told AFP.
It was the first raid in a major urban centre in several weeks by the group in their four-year Islamist uprising.
Boko Haram has repeatedly worn military uniforms as a disguise during attacks and it was not yet clear whether the corpses were those of insurgents or troops.
Figures released earlier this year said the Boko Haram conflict had cost more than 3,600 lives, including killings by the security forces. The current toll is certainly much higher.
Boko Haram has attacked Christians, Muslims, students, politicians and a range of other groups seen as opposed to the creation of a state governed by strict Islamic law.
Nigeria is Africa’s most populous country and top oil producer, where the northern half is mostly Muslim and the more prosperous south is predominately Christian.
Copyright (2013) AFP. All rights reserved.
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