The spate of violence across Nigeria continued on Sunday with unknown gunmen killing no fewer than 18 persons in two separate attacks in Adamawa and Bayelsa states.
Police say 10 persons were gunned down and nine others wounded in Adamawa when gunmen launched a surprise attack on a market and a church in Jilang village of Maiha Local Government area of the state.
Shortly after news of the attack filtered in, reports came that another set of unidentified gunmen, suspected to be ex-militants, had killed eight persons in Lorbia community, Southern Ijaw Local Government Area of Bayelsa.
The Adamawa Police spokesperson, DSP Ibrahim Mohammed, who confirmed the Sunday incident to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Yola, said the gunmen, who came in motorcycle slaughtered six people in the village market and another four in a church.
Mr. Mohammed explained that the police officers who rushed to Jilang village from Maiha after they were alerted of the incident, could not catch up with the gunmen who he said sneaked into neighbouring Cameroon through an illegal route.
No one has claimed responsibility for the attack. But security agencies believe it has the imprimatur of the extremist Boko Haram sect.
Sunday’s attack was the second in the area in five months.
In December 2012, gunmen attacked Maiha town, sacking the divisional police station, killing one police officer and freeing 35 prison inmates.
The December attack on the border local government, also affected the house of the District head, Area Court, Customs Post and Local Education Authority office.
The Bayelsa killings
NAN reports that five ex-militant youths, who embraced the government’s amnesty offer under the leadership of a certain Pator Reuben Wilson, an ex-militant leader, were among those killed in the Bayelsa attack.
Mr. Wilson reportedly lost his 37-year-old brother, Judah Benaibi Wilson, in the attack which security sources described as a clash between rival gangs.
Onyeama Nwachukwu, the Media Coordinator of the Joint Task Force in the Niger Delta, who confirmed the incident, however, said that the casualty figures were still unclear.
“At about 2 a.m. on Saturday, there was an armed collision between two armed groups at Lorbia in Southern Ijaw Local Government Area, which led to the death of unspecified number of persons,’’ he said.
Mr. Nwachukwu, a lieutenant colonel, said the bodies of those who died in the armed confrontation had yet to be recovered from the waters.
“Our troops have carried out a cordon and search operation in the community, and we seized items including two AK47 rifles, one general purpose machine gun, six AK47 magazines and one speedboat, among others,’’ he said.
The victims were allegedly lured into the creek and shot dead by gunmen, suspected to be the masterminds of the April 6 attack in which 12 policemen were killed.
At the Yenagoa home of ex-militant leader Wilson, sympathisers were seen discussing the incident in groups, as Mr. Wilson confirmed the loss of his brother.
When contacted, Alex Akhigbe, the Police Public Relations Officer in Bayelsa, said that the command was aware of the reported armed conflict but said that the details were still sketchy.