Militants kill 44 inside Nigerian mosque

Suspected Islamic militants wearing Army uniforms gunned down at least 44 worshippers at a mosque in northeast Nigeria, the latest in a string of attacks blamed on radical extremists.

Militants believed to be linked to Boko Haram sect opened fire on people worshipping inside the mosque in Konduga near Nigeria’s restive city of Maiduguri on Sunday, security officials said Monday.

At least 44 worshippers have been shot dead, they said.

Also, a member of a vigilante group said that some of its members were gunned down by the rampaging terrorists when they tried to respond to a distress call.

It was not immediately clear why the mosque in Konduga was targeted, but Boko Haram has in the past attacked mosques whose clerics have spoken out against religious extremism. The group also has attacked Christians outside churches and teachers and schoolchildren, as well as government and military targets.

Nigeria declared a state of emergency in three northeastern states in May as it fights Islamist militants.

Boko Haram aims to establish and Islamic caliphate in the oil-rich country and more than 2,000 persons have died since it commenced killings and bombings mostly in the northern part of the country.

Nigeria’s 150 million people are evenly distributed among Christians and Muslims.

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