20 Christians shot dead in Nigerian rural town

Suspected gunmen from a radical Muslim sect attacked a town hall in rural northeast Nigeria yesterday, killing at least 20 people who had gathered for a meeting of a Christian ethnic group, police said.

The attack targeted a town hall where Christian Igbo people were holding a meeting, with gunmen chanting “God is great” as they fired Kalashnikov rifles.

The killings come after a spokesman for the sect known as Boko Haram threatened to begin targeting Christians living in the country’s Muslim north in its increasingly bloody sectarian fight with Nigeria’s weak government.

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The attack occurred in Mubi in Adamawa state as traders held a meeting before opening up their shops for business, local police commissioner Ade T Shinaba said.

Okey Raymond, 48, who attended the meeting, said: “Everyone scampered for safety, but the gunmen chanted: ‘God is great, God is great’ while shooting.”

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No arrests have been made in the attack, which left at least another 15 people wounded.

Friday’s attack comes after gunmen attacked a church in the northeast Nigeria city of Gombe during a prayer service on Thursday night, spraying the congregation with gunfire and killing at least six people including the pastor’s wife.