MAIDUGURI, Nigeria (AP) — A military official on Sunday said that 17 people, including a 13-year-old boy, were killed during a military and police operation against a radical Muslim sect in Nigeria’s restive northeast.
Maj. Gen. Jack Nwachukwu Nwaogbo told journalists in the city of Maiduguri that a 13-year-old boy, five other civilians and 11 suspected members of a radical sect locally known as Boko Haram were killed during the operation on Saturday evening.
He declined to comment on how they died.
Usman Abdullahi, the 36-year-old brother of a victim, said soldiers chased people in the streets for hours and shot at them. He said soldiers accused them of being sect members.
Nwaogbo said security forces launched a search operation after two suspected members threw two homemade bombs at patrol cars from a moving bus. He said the blasts injured five soldiers.
An activist group, the Civil Rights Congress of Nigeria, said in a statement Sunday that the war against Boko Haram “must be done within the ambit of the law and constitution.”
Also Sunday police said a bomb blast killed at least two women outside a church in a city just north of Nigeria’s capital.
Niger state police spokesman Richard Oguche said the blast went off Sunday outside the All Christian Fellowship Mission in the city of Suleja. He said one man sustained serious injuries.
Yushau Shuaib, a spokesman for the National Emergency Management Agency, said in a statement that four people were hospitalized after the blast.
Boko Haram, whose name means “Western education is sacrilege” in the local Hausa language, is responsible for a rash of killings targeting security officers, local leaders and clerics in Nigeria’s northeast over the last year. They have also claimed responsibility for a bombing at the nation’spolice headquarters that killed two last month.
The capital bombing and other recent attacks outside Boko Haram’s stronghold which have targeted beer gardens, have shown the group is broadening its reach.
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