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12 dead in suspected Boko Haram wedding attack Gunmen escaped immediately before security forces could arrive

MAIDUGURI, Nigeria, Dec 30, (AFP): Suspected Boko Haram gunmen shot dead twelve people and injured five more in a weekend attack on a wedding party in northeastern Nigeria, police said on Monday. Two gunmen on a motorcycle opened fire in the mainly Christian village of Tashan Alade, 230 kms (over 140 miles) from the Borno state capital Maiduguri, on Saturday, said police commissioner Lawan Tanko. “The attackers, who were obviously Boko Haram insurgents, arrived at the open-air venue of the party around 2:00 pm (1300 GMT) and opened fire, killing twelve people and injuring five others,” he told AFP. “The gunmen fled immediately and escaped before security personnel could be alerted due to the remoteness of the village.” Boko Haram has in recent months intensified attacks on civilians in northern Borno in response to their perceived collaboration with the military tasked with stemming the bloody insurgency. Nigeria’s government in May imposed a state of emergency in Borno and two other northeastern states, Yobe and Adamawa.

The operation — assisted by civilian vigilante groups — has seen Boko Haram fighters forced out of Maiduguri into more remote, rural areas on the border with neighbouring Cameroon, Chad and Niger. Witnesses to Saturday’s attack said eight people had been killed and 12 others seriously injured. The gunmen pretended to be guests and opened fire as cash was given to the newlyweds in a traditional Nigerian custom, they said. The wedding was attended by both Christians and Muslims, they added. Meanwhile four people were reportedly killed in the village of Kwajaffa, also in Borno state, on Sunday, raising fears of fresh attacks in the majority Christian community and others nearby. Kwajaffa is near the Sambisa Forest, where Boko Haram has been engaged in fierce fighting with the military. There were also reports of further deaths in the village of Warabe, also near Sambisa Forest. The weekend violence came as local government elections took place amid tight security in Yobe on Saturday, which saw tough restrictions on movement and armed guards at polling stations. Turnout was nevertheless nearly 79 percent, according to the Yobe State Independent Electoral Commission

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