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Boko Haram Kills Over 50 Oil Specialists in Nigeria
Boko Haram Kills Over 50 Oil Specialists in Nigeria

Boko Haram Kills Over 50 Oil Specialists in Nigeria

Boko Haram Kills Over 50 Oil Specialists in Nigeria

More than 50 people were killed in a Boko Haram ambush on an oil exploration team in northeast Nigeria earlier this week, multiple sources told AFP news agency on Thursday, warning the death toll could rise.

Tuesday’s attack in the Magumeri area of Borno state on a convoy of specialists from the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation was the group’s deadliest in months, Al Jazeera reported.

It underscored the persistent threat posed by Boko Haram fighters, despite government claims they are a spent force, and also the risks associated with the hunt for crude in the volatile Lake Chad basin.

Details of the ambush, which was initially thought to be a kidnapping attempt, have been slow to emerge and an exact death toll is difficult to establish, as the military strictly controls access to rural Borno.

Telecommunications and other infrastructure have been severely damaged or destroyed in the conflict, which has left at least 20,000 dead and more than 2.6 million homeless since 2009.

The army said on Wednesday that 10 people were killed in the attack.

But one source involved in dealing with the aftermath told AFP news agency on Thursday: “The death toll keeps mounting. Now we have more than 50... and more bodies are coming in.”

“It’s clear that the attack wasn’t for abduction. They (Boko Haram) attacked just to kill.”

There has been no serious suggestion that Boko Haram is motivated by a desire to control oil in northeast Nigeria.

But fighters, squeezed out of captured territory by the military counterinsurgency, may have been eager to make a show of force against the soldiers and civilian militia guarding the NNPC team.

In recent months, the self-styled Islamic State group affiliate has been forced to rely on guerilla tactics, particularly suicide bomb attacks, against the security forces and civilian militia.

Women and young girls, in particular, have been used against civilian “soft” targets such as mosques, as well as the university in Maiduguri.

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