Gunmen Kill At Least 31 in Potiskum

Potiskum

Potiskum

(AFP) – Gunmen killed eight people in Nigeria’s troubled city of Potiskum Saturday, raising the death toll to 31 for three days of violence in the northeastern town, police and residents said.

The body of a school principal was found near his house on Saturday, after seven people had been reportedly slaughtered in the city and 23 earlier killed following blasts and shootings on Thursday.

In the eastern state of Adamawa, the bodies were found of nine people who residents charged were executed by soldiers hunting suspects in a roadside bomb blast four days earlier.

Suspected members of the Boko Haram Islamist group shot dead seven people, including a retired customs chief and an ex-police officer early Saturday, police said.

“I have received reports of the killing of a retired controller of customs and a retired police officer and five members of their family by Boko Haram gunmen in Potiskum this morning,” Yobe state police commissioner Patrick Egbuniwe told AFP.

Egbuniwe said the gunmen killed the ex-customs officer Ajiya Waziri and his medical doctor son, before the attack on the police officer and four members of his family.

Residents said Waziri and his son were abducted from their house and taken to the outskirts of the city where they were shot dead. Their bodies were dumped on the roadside.

A domestic staff said around 10 gunmen took away cash and other valuables from the house before setting it ablaze.

“Their bodies were found with bullet wounds on the outskirts of the city later today,” he said.

Residents said the gunmen also broke into the house of Haruna Adamu, a retired assistant superintendent of police in the Sabon Layi area of the city.

“It was past midnight when I heard several gunshots followed by screams which woke me up,” said Tabiu Hamza, a neighbour of the slain police officer.

“Some neighbours including myself rushed to the house after the gunmen had left only to find all the five members of the family, including Haruna, his wife and three children dead,” he said.

Residents also said the corpse of Musa Magazai, the head of a secondary school in the city was found near his house with gunshot wounds on Saturday.

Potiskum, the commercial hub of Yobe state, has been hard hit by near daily Islamist attacks in recent weeks.

A wave of attacks by suspected Islamists that began on Thursday had already left at least 23 other people dead and several buildings destroyed.

A nurse at the Potiskum general hospital spoke of 20 bodies being brought to the morgue, while residents said three bodies were buried by their families following explosions and shootings in the restive city on Thursday.

“We now have a total of 20 bodies brought in yesterday from the attacks of the previous night. Initially 11 bodies were brought and nine more were received later,” a nurse who asked not to be named told AFP.

Residents said the toll could be higher as some relations had taken some bodies from the streets for burial.

“I participated in the burial of three residents who were killed in the attacks. I was at their separate burials yesterday. These are the ones I know. There could be several others,” resident Hamisu Nababa told AFP.

Explosions and gunfire shook the northeastern city Thursday, with residents reporting that several schools and a government building were burnt.

A military source said some buildings had been destroyed by homemade bombs and a security checkpoint was attacked in the latest deadly incident to hit the city, a Boko Haram hotbed.

Residents reported heavy deployment of troops and armoured vehicles in Potiskum on Saturday to forestall fresh violence.

In Adamawa state, a doctor at Mubi General Hospital said nine bodies were found with gunshot wounds.

“Nine bodies with fresh gunshot wounds were brought to the morgue this morning,” the doctor told AFP.

“The bodies were of people that were injured on Wednesday when soldiers opened fire outside the market after a bomb explosion targeted their passing patrol van,” said Dalhatu Saleh, a shoe trader.

He said the soldiers nabbed some of the wounded from hospital and others from their homes and took them to the army barracks.

“To our shock, their bodies were found this morning in the bush with fresh gunshot wounds.”

Another resident, Mamman Nadu, a bus driver also accused troops of the killings.

“The whole town knows that soldiers took the nine men away to the (army) barracks on Wednesday only for their dead bodies to be discovered in the bush. The soldiers killed them,” he added.

Brigadier-General John Nwaogu, the military commander in the state, denied the accusation.

The soldiers were deployed there to track down the gunmen who massacred 40 people at a student housing facility earlier this month.

Boko Haram’s insurgency in northern and central Nigeria and the state’s military response are believed to have left more than 2,800 people dead since 2009.

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