July 31, 2014

Suspected Boko Haram militants kill state lawyer, ex-prison official

MAIDUGURI, Nigeria (Reuters) – Suspected members of Boko Haram killed the attorney general of the state of Borno in north-eastern Nigeria overnight, authorities said on Tuesday, a day after a security source said the military had killed the Islamist sect’s spokesman.

Unknown attackers on Monday also shot dead the former controller general of prisons in the northern state of Bauchi, police said.

Headquartered in Borno, Boko Haram models itself on the Afghan Taliban and is fighting to create an Islamic state in Nigeria’s largely Muslim north. It has killed hundreds of people in gun and bomb attacks.

Borno Attorney General Zanna Malam Gana was shot dead in his home town of Bama, in Nigeria’s remote northeast, on the threshold of the Sahara Desert, the state’s justice ministry said in a statement.

Police spokesman for Bauchi state Hassan Auyo said gunmen shot the former prison controller Ibrahim Jarmam on Monday evening, and he later died of wounds in hospital.

On Monday, a Nigerian security source said its forces had killed two militants, including Abu Qaqa, Boko Haram’s main spokesman.

There has been no response from the sect. Nigerian forces have claimed to have killed or captured him in the past, only for the militant to issue a statement denying it.

Boko Haram traditionally targets authority figures or security forces, but two weeks ago started attacks on mobile phone installations across the northeast which it said were being used to help track down its fighters.

They have destroyed around 30 phone masts and MTN Nigeria said on Tuesday there had also been cuts to its fibre cable in the region, impacting service to customers.

“Security concerns have prevented not only repair work to damaged equipment, but routine maintenance, causing disruption to the lives of millions of Nigerians,” MTN Nigeria General Manager of Corporate Affairs Funmi Omogbenigun said.

A military crackdown in the north appears to have damaged Boko Haram’s capabilities, although it remains deadly in many parts. At least 186 people died in coordinated attacks in the north’s main city of Kano in January.

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