'Islamists' slit 15 Christians' throats in Nigeria: sources

December 31, 2012 - 12:00:00 am
KANO: Suspected Islamist extremists have killed 15 Christians by slitting their throats in an attack on a village in Nigeria's volatile northeast, residents and a relief source said Sunday.


"From the information we gathered, the attackers broke into selected homes and slaughtered 15 people in their sleep," the relief official said on condition of anonymity because he was not authorised to speak publicly.


Authorities had previously confirmed the predawn Friday attack in Musari, but gave few details and said only five were killed. Musari is located on the outskirts of Maiduguri, the base of Islamist extremist group Boko Haram.


Lieutenant Colonel Sagir Musa, spokesman for a military task force in the area, told AFP on Sunday that he stood by the toll of five dead, adding that some were shot and others were attacked with machetes.


Nigerian authorities tend to under-report death tolls, however, and the relief official's information matched that of residents, who spoke of 15 people having their throats slit.


Speaking of the victims, the relief official said "they included one traffic warden and 14 civilians. The victims were selected because they were all Christians, some of whom had moved into the neighbourhood from other parts of the city hit by Boko Haram attacks."


Residents said they suspected the attackers were from Boko Haram.


"The attackers came in and silently went into homes whose residents were all Christians and slit the throats of their victims. They killed 15 people," one resident said.


Violence linked to an insurgency by Boko Haram in northern and central Nigeria has left some 3,000 people dead since 2009, including killings by the security forces.


Nigeria, Africa's most populous nation and largest oil producer, is roughly divided between a mainly Muslim north and predominately Christian south. (AFP)