55 dead after suspected raid in Nigeria by Islamist sect Boko Haram

 

The Nigerian Islamist sect Boko Haram is thought to have been behind a deadly siege on the northeastern town of Bama on Tuesday that left 55 people dead.

Military sources in Nigeria said 200 heavily armed members of Boko Haram arrived in buses and pick-up trucks and carried out a coordinated strike, first hitting the army barracks and the police station before breaking into the town's prison.

Military spokesman Sagir Musa told Reuters that 22 police officers, 14 prison officials, two soldiers and four civilians were killed in the five-hour raid, while 13 of the group's own members died. The attack is one of the rebel's most deadly single strikes since 2009.

During the five-hour raid, gunmen freed 105 prisoners, while the town's police station, army barracks and government buildings were reportedly set ablaze.

Boko Haram is a terror group that wants to carve out an Islamic state in a country split roughly equally between Christians and Muslims. One of its chief demands is that its imprisoned members and family members are released and it has carried out several prison breaks.

The radical Islamist group, based in northern Nigeria, once specialised in robbing banks and attacking defenceless Christian congregations. But the last four years has seen something of  a step-change in their attacks, with gunmen and suicide bombers have killed more than 3,000 people since 2009, according to Human Rights Watch.

Much of this transformation is believed to have arisen because of the help Boko Haram has received from al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), a branch of the international terrorist network based in the Saharan states of Mali, Niger and Algeria.

Western governments are increasingly concerned about Nigerian militants linking up with other jihadist groups in the West African region. In January at least 100 of the movement's fighters executed eight assaults in Nigeria's northern city of Kano, overwhelming the security forces and killing 185 people.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Guru Careers: Software Developer / Web Developer

£30 - 40k + Benefits: Guru Careers: A Software / Web Developer (PHP / MYSQL) i...

Guru Careers: Account Executive

£18 - 20k + Benefits: Guru Careers: An Account Executive is needed to join one...

Guru Careers: Software Developer / Software Engineer

£35 - 40k + Benefits: Guru Careers: A Software Developer / Software Engineer i...

Reach Volunteering: Volunteer Trustee with Healthcare expertise

Voluntary and unpaid, reasonable expenses are reimbursable: Reach Volunteering...

Day In a Page

Raif Badawi: Wife pleads for fresh EU help as Saudi blogger's health worsens

Please save my husband

As the health of blogger Raif Badawi worsens in prison, his wife urges EU governments to put pressure on the Saudi Arabian royal family to allow her husband to join his family in Canada
Birthplace of Arab Spring in turmoil as angry Tunisians stage massive sit-in over lack of development

They shall not be moved: jobless protesters bring Tunisia to a halt

A former North African boom town is wasting away while its unemployed citizens stick steadfastly to their sit-in
David Hasselhoff's new show 'Hoff the Record': What's it like working with a superstar?

Hanging with the Hoff

Working with David Hasselhoff on his new TV series was an education for Ella Smith
Can Dubai's Design District 'hipster village' attract the right type of goatee-wearing individualist?

Hipsters of Arabia

Can Dubai’s ‘creative village’ attract the right type of goatee-wearing individualist?
The cult of Roger Federer: What is it that inspires such obsessive devotion?

The cult of Roger Federer

What is it that inspires such obsessive devotion?
Kuala Lumpur's street food: Not a 'scene', more a way of life

Malaysian munchies

With new flights, the amazing street food of Kuala Lumpur just got more accessible
10 best festival beauty

Mud guards: 10 best festival beauty

Whether you're off to the Isle of Wight, Glastonbury or a local music event, we've found the products to help you
Unai Emery’s passion for winning and eye for a bargain keep Seville centre stage in Europe

A Different League

Unai Emery’s passion for winning and eye for a bargain keep Seville centre stage in Europe, says Pete Jenson
Amir Khan and James DeGale’s remarkable Olympic performances were just the start of an extraordinary journey - Steve Bunce

Steve Bunce on Boxing

Amir Khan and James DeGale’s remarkable Olympic performances were just the start of an extraordinary journey
Abuse - and the hell that came afterwards

Abuse - and the hell that follows

James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to publish his memoir
Why we need a 'tranquility map' of England, according to campaigners

It's oh so quiet!

The case for a 'tranquility map' of England
'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

'Timeless fashion'

It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
If the West needs a bridge to the 'moderates' inside Isis, maybe we could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive after all

Could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive?

Robert Fisk on the Fountainheads of World Evil in 2011 - and 2015
New exhibition celebrates the evolution of swimwear

Evolution of swimwear

From bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf