Boko Haram suspected of two more attacks in Nigeria

Two massacres in northern Borno state

Boko Haram Islamist militants are suspected of the ambushing and killing of 48 fish vendors in northern Nigeria near the border with Chad. The attack took place in the troubled Borno state on 20 November but the news did not reach the media for several days because the area's mobile phone masts were destroyed by Boko Haram.

The traders had been on their way to Chad to buy fish when they were ambushed by insurgents near Doron Baga village on the shores of Lake Chad, about 180km north of Maiduguri, the Borno state capital.

The extremists reportedly killed some of the fish traders by slitting their throats, others by tying them up and drowing them in the lake. It is believed the militants refrained from firing weapons to avoid attracting the attention of the military task force deployed in the region to counter their terrorist activity.

The Multi-National Joint Task Force (MNJTF) comprises troops from Nigeria, Chad and Niger and is stationed near the scene of the Boko Haram attack. Originally formed in 1998 to combat trans-border crime the mandate of the MNJTF was expanded recently as part of efforts to tackle the Boko Haram insurgency in the region, however so far the task force has not had much success.

On 19 November, the day before the fish traders' massacre, Boko Haram gunmen attacked the village of Azaya Kura, also in Borno state, killing at least 45 people. The victims' hands were tied behind their backs and their throats slit, in an apparent revenge attack after villagers identified four insurgents that were subsequently killed by soldiers.

On 10 November a Boko Haram suicide bomber disguised as a student killed at least 48 people and injured about 80 at a boys' school in Potiskum in the northeastern Yobe State.