Dozens murdered at Nigeria cattle market

 

Robbers angered by a crowd burning one of their colleagues alive
attacked a cattle market in north east Nigeria, killing at least 34
people in the latest violence fanning across the bloodied region,
witnesses and an official said.

The casualty figure could be higher from the attack in Potiskum, a town in Nigeria's Yobe state, as Muslim mourners often quickly bury their dead without taking bodies to authorities.

Officials also offered differing death tolls and accounts of what happened, a sign of the confusion now gripping leaders across Nigeria's north as it faces increasing attacks from a radical Islamist sect responsible for hundreds of deaths this year alone.

The violence began on Wednesday, as witnesses said gunmen started shooting at the market in Potiskum, a city 350 miles north east of Nigeria's central capital, Abuja.

Three people were killed in the ensuing gunfire, which ended when the attackers ran out of ammunition, witnesses said.

All but one of the gunmen escaped. Those gathered in the market beat the gunmen left behind before dousing him in gasoline and lighting him on fire, a punishment still meted out by mobs in a nation where few trust the under-equipped and corrupt federal police force.

As the market closed for the night, the gunmen returned, setting fire to cattle holding pens and cars parked around the area.

By yesterday morning, only the metal skeletons of cars and the burnt ashes of the pens remained on the arid soil. Dead cattle, apparently hacked to death by attackers with machetes, lay atop the charred ground.

Potiskum General Hospital, the only major medical facility in the town, took in 34 corpses from the attack, an official there said.

Nwakpa O. Nwakpa, a spokesman for the Nigerian Red Cross, said at least 33 people were wounded in the attack and needed medical attention.

A spokesman for Nigeria's National Emergency Management Agency said officials were trying to reach the rural town and offer assistance while taking a survey of the damage.

Yobe state police spokesman Toyin Gbadegeshin said the toll in the attack might rise, as many of those wounded remained in serious condition after the attack.

However, confusion surrounded how many people were killed in the attack.

Abdullahi Bego, a spokesman for Yobe state Governor Ibrahim Gaidam, said those in the market told authorities at least 60 people died in the attack.

Mr Nwakpa said the Red Cross wouldn't release any casualty figures.

Security forces in Nigeria traditionally offer lower death tolls to downplay the severity of attacks, while politicians and activists give higher tolls to get more relief materials and government funding.

Mr Gbadegeshin also blamed the attacks on the Islamist sect known as Boko Haram, which is waging an increasingly bloody sectarian fight in Nigeria. Witnesses of yesterday's attack, however, said the robber burned alive by the angry crowd begged for his life in Igbo, a language of Nigeria's Christian south east.

Boko Haram, blamed for more than 480 killings this year alone, has carried out attacks in Potiskum before.

The area is also part of a region that President Goodluck Jonathan put under emergency rule due to sect attacks, which gives military and police additional powers.

However, the cattle market attack shows the limits of power the nation's weak central government faces in dealing with violence in its rural lands.

Cattle raids remain common across the north, as herdsmen lead teams across the arid plains to market. While attacks there often cuts across ethnic and religious lines, the root of the violence often comes back to grazing rights and political power.

The markets also see buyers carry hundreds of dollars in cash at one time in Nigeria's impoverished north, a lucrative target for armed robbers.

Arts and Entertainment
The eyes have it: Kate Bush
music
Arts and Entertainment
booksNovelist takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
Arts and Entertainment
Al Pacino in ‘The Humbling’, as an ageing actor
filmHam among the brilliance as actor premieres two films at festival
News
Fifi Trixibelle Geldof with her mother, Paula Yates, in 1985
people
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn evocation of the conflict through the eyes of those who lived through it
Sport
Mario Balotelli in action during his Liverpool debut
football ...but he can't get on the scoresheet in impressive debut
Environment
Pigeons have been found with traces of cocaine and painkillers in their system
environmentCan species be 'de-extincted'?
Arts and Entertainment
booksExclusive extract from Howard Jacobson’s acclaimed new novel
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
A Pilgrim’s Progress is described by its publisher as “the one-and-only definitive record” of David Hockney's life and works
people
Sport
Loic Remy signs for Chelsea
footballBlues wrap up deal on the eve of the transfer window
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Art
Arts and Entertainment
Elizabeth McGovern as Cora, Countess of Grantham and Richard E Grant as Simon Bricker
TV
Life and Style
Instagram daredevils get thousands of followers
techMeet the daredevil photographers redefining urban exploration with death-defying stunts
Arts and Entertainment
Diana Beard, nicknamed by the press as 'Dirty Diana'
TVDaughter says contestant was manipulated 'to boost ratings'
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
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

Web Developer (Infrastructure, JavaScript, jQuery, jQuery UI)

Negotiable: Harrington Starr: Web Developer (Infrastructure, JavaScript, jQuer...

DT Technician

£65 - £80 per day: Randstad Education Cardiff: DT Technician required to start...

Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Manchester - Huxley Associates

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: One of SThree's most successfu...

Nursery Manager

£10 - £11 per hour: Randstad Education Cheshire: Nursery Manager We are loo...

Day In a Page

Alexander Fury: The designer names to look for at fashion week this season

The big names to look for this fashion week

This week, designers begin to show their spring 2015 collections in New York
Will Self: 'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

Will Self takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Toy guns proving a popular diversion in a country flooded with the real thing
Al Pacino wows Venice

Al Pacino wows Venice

Ham among the brilliance as actor premieres two films at festival
Neil Lawson Baker interview: ‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.

Neil Lawson Baker interview

‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.
The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

Wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding her husband
The model of a gadget launch: Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed

The model for a gadget launch

Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed
Alice Roberts: She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

Alice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
Get well soon, Joan Rivers - an inspiration, whether she likes it or not

Get well soon, Joan Rivers

She is awful. But she's also wonderful, not in spite of but because of the fact she's forever saying appalling things, argues Ellen E Jones
Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

A fresh take on an old foe

Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering
Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

As the collections start, fashion editor Alexander Fury finds video and the internet are proving more attractive
Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy

Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall...

... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy
Weekend at the Asylum: Europe's biggest steampunk convention heads to Lincoln

Europe's biggest steampunk convention

Jake Wallis Simons discovers how Victorian ray guns and the martial art of biscuit dunking are precisely what the 21st century needs
Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

Lying is dangerous and unnecessary. A new book explains the strategies needed to avoid it. John Rentoul on the art of 'uncommunication'
Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough? Was the beloved thespian the last of the cross-generation stars?

Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough?

The atomisation of culture means that few of those we regard as stars are universally loved any more, says DJ Taylor