Islamist gang shoots 16 in church

Scotsman, UK/August 8, 2012

Gunmen killed 16 people when they fired on worshippers at a church in central Nigeria during a Monday evening service, police said yesterday.

Islamist sect Boko Haram has attacked several churches this year in Nigeria but Monday's attack in Kogi state was further south than its usual targets.

"A group of three unidentified gunmen stormed the Deeper Life Church in Okene and opened fire on them, killing 16," said a spokesman for the Kogi state police.

But an eyewitness, who asked not to be identified, said around ten gunmen blocked off the exits to the church before shooting worshippers trapped inside.

In February, Boko Haram organised a prison break in Kogi state, freeing 119 prisoners. The sect had carried out jail raids before and one of its key demands has been the release of its imprisoned members.

Cities across the north and in the capital Abuja have been hit in recent months by suicide bombers, never seen before last year in Nigeria. The sect has killed hundreds this year in its insurgency against president Goodluck Jonathan's regime.

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