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Tuesday, 23 August, 2011, 3:38 ( 1:38 GMT )
Nigeria Prominent Muslim Cleric Killed
14/08/2011 13:42:00
Gunmen suspected as being members of an Islamist sect killed a prominent Muslim cleric Liman Baana Ngala, in Nigeria's northeast, an area hit by scores of attacks blamed on the extremists, residents said.

A military official said they had received word of the Friday night attack in the town of Gamboru Ngala, near the border with Cameroon, but could not yet comment since a full report had not yet been made.

The cleric was the former chief imam for the town. He was said to have been resting outside his home after breaking his Ramadan fast on Friday night when two motorcycle-riding gunmen arrived.

An eye witness present at the time said that one of the two gunmen approached the cleric and, after a short conversation, he shot him twice before fleeing.

Another resident gave a similar account of the shooting. But it was unclear why the cleric would have been targeted.

The sect has been blamed for scores of bomb blasts and shootings in Nigeria's northeast. Such attacks have targeted figures of authority, including police, politicians and soldiers, as well as religious and community leaders.

It claims to be fighting to establish an Islamic state in Nigeria, Africa's most populous nation of some 150 million people roughly divided in half between Christians and Muslims.

Nigeria's government recently inaugurated a committee to look into the violence in the northeast and recommend solutions, including whether to negotiate with the sect.
 
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