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Nigeria - More Than 30 Civilians Killed By Military In Maiduguri

Nigerian soldiers angry about the killing of an officer shot dead more than 30 civilians Monday in a northeastern city long under siege by a radical Islamist sect.
The attack came from soldiers attached to a special military unit on guard in Maiduguri, the spiritual home of the sect known as Boko Haram, in an effort to supposedly protect its citizens from the violence gripping the city. 

The killings likely will further antagonize a population already alienated by checkpoints, security force harassment and the threat of being killed by soldiers who are targets for the sect's increasingly bloody guerrilla attacks.

An Associated Press reporter in Maiduguri counted the dead while on a tour of the still-smoldering neighborhood Monday afternoon.

The journalist saw no weapons or evidence that the dead belonged to the sect. A soldier nearby, who did not identify himself, claimed the attack was a response to a bombing nearby earlier Monday that he said killed a lieutenant.

"They killed our officer!" the soldier shouted. "We had no options!"

The AP reporter also saw that soldiers had set fire to about 50 homes and businesses around the area, which sits near the Nigerian Union of Journalists state office and other buildings in Maiduguri. 

It appeared the soldiers attacked the area using assault rifles and heavy machine guns mounted on armored personnel carriers.

Rounds shot from the heavy machine guns destroyed cars and set roofs on fire, which razed buildings and caused damage at a two-story shopping complex.

The journalist accompanied Zanna Umar Mustapha, the deputy governor of Borno state, on the tour. State officials declined to comment about the killings and urged those traveling with the convoy not to take photographs of the destruction out of fear of further alienating those living in the region.

Nigeria's military has been accused of committing so-called "extrajudicial killings" while in pursuit of the Boko Haram sect.

The military now routinely claims massive operations with dozens of people killed, always referred to as Boko Haram members or sympathizers, announcements that cannot be independently verified. The military also downplays its own casualties suffered during the operations.

News Source: AP
Nigeria 145491406910415356

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