More than 20 insurgents armed with assault rifles and explosives attacked the village of Kamuyya in Borno state during a weekly Sunday market, local newspaper Vanguard reported today.
The gunmen fired into the crowd before setting shops and vehicles alight. More than 100 houses were also burnt down, according to witnesses.
“The militants, armed with sophisticated weapons, raided the area and proceeded to the major market. They began to shoot sporadically into the crowd, killing 24 people on the spot and burnt most of the shops in the market,” said resident Bukar Umar. “The invaders snatched several vehicles and loaded them with bags of food before fleeing the area,” he added.
The attack comes a day after a suicide bomber killed eight people in the central Nigerian town of Jos.
More than 100 people have been killed in suspected Boko Haram attacks in central and northern Nigeria in the past week.
The UN Security Council last week designated the extremist group as an Al-Qaeda-linked organisation, cementing long-held suspicions of its ties to militants in the global jihadi movement.
But with sanctions designed to cut off overseas funding and support for Boko Haram, which kidnapped more than 200 schoolgirls last month, there are doubts about the impact these sanctions will have on the ground.
“Boko Haram has, for several years now, existed beyond the formal parameters where an arms embargo or asset-freeze would affect the group,” Jacob Zenn of the Jamestown Foundation think-tank in the United States, told AFP.
“Its funding comes from kidnappings-for-ransom, which are already illegal, and also non-state actors like AQIM (Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb) and likely state actors that avoid the global financial system to transfer money.
“Arms come from raiding Nigerian armouries or smuggling networks, such as those from Libya via the Tuareg region of Mali,” he said in an email exchange.
Omoyele Sowore of Nigeria’s Sahara Reporters website told BBC radio on Friday that Boko Haram was different from global extremist groups such as Al-Qaeda in terms of structure and funding.
“Boko Haram commanders and their leaders do not travel with passports, they travel on the ground in hijacked vehicles; they don’t have any formal assets that anyone can point to – it is not a formal organisation,” he said.
The United States and several Western countries have previously blacklisted Boko Haram but that has done little to stop the cycle of violence, which if anything, has increased this year.
On Tuesday at least 118 people were killed in a twin car bomb attack in the central city of Jos. On the day of the schoolgirls’ kidnapping in April, 75 people were killed in a blast in the capital, Abuja, where at least three people were also recently killed in an explosion targeting football fans watching the European Champions League final.