Suspected Islamic militants wearing army fatigues gunned down 44 people praying at a mosque in northeast Nigeria, while another 12 civilians died in an apparently simultaneous attack nearby, security agents said today. The attacks were the latest in a slew of violence blamed on religious extremists in this West African oil producer, where the radical Boko Haram group, which wants to oust the government and impose Islamic law, poses the greatest security threat in years.
It was not immediately clear why this particular mosque—located in Konduga town, some 22 miles outside Maiduguri, the capital of Nigeria's Borno state—was targeted, but Boko Haram has in the past attacked mosques whose clerics have spoken out against religious extremism. The group also has attacked Christians outside churches and teachers and schoolchildren, as well as government and military targets. The news came as journalists received a video featuring Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau, who gloats over recent attacks, threatens more, and even says his group is now strong enough to go after the United States.