Kano (AFP) - Suspected Nigerian Islamists opened fire and set off bombs at a market in the north-eastern city of Maiduguri on Monday, killing at least 30 people, a medic and a witness said.
Gunmen believed to be members of the Islamist sect Boko Haram stormed the fish section of Baga market and sprayed stallholders and vendors with bullets, traders said, reporting that women and children were among the dead.
"The number of dead could not be less than 30," a Maiduguri hospital nurse said.
The military confirmed the assault on the market but denied any civilian deaths, saying security forces had killed eight assailants and safely detonated bombs planted by the attackers.
"At about 1.30pm (1230 GMT) this afternoon at Baga market of Maiduguri metropolis some gunmen suspected to be members of Boko Haram attacked and shot civilians at the market," Lieutenant Colonel Hassan Mohammed, spokesman of a special military unit in the city, said.
He said several people had been wounded but that there was "no civilian death at this time".
The military "immediately came to the rescue of the situation and safely detonated three bombs planted by members of the sect and shot and killed eight members of the sect," Mohammed said.
However, one trader who have his name as Mairami, said six gunmen stormed the food and commodities market and "opened fire indiscriminately. At least 30 people including women and children were killed."
Another vendor by the name Gana gave a similar account of the attack in the city, the stronghold of Boko Haram which has been blamed for a deadly wave of bombings and shootings mainly in the north of Africa's most populous country.
Witnesses said the gunmen set off eight homemade bombs inside the market, destroying stalls. The entire market was deserted after the attack.
"The gunmen just opened fire killing people. I saw three military vans piled with bodies leaving the market. There were several explosions after the shooting," Gana said.
Tuesday, February 21, 2012
Nigeria: 30 killed in Boko Haram market attack