Nigeria experienced an explosion of violence over the weekend, with a number of militant attacks occurring all over the country.
On Sunday, 23 people were killed when around 70 attackers stormed the village of Ligyado in Zamfara State armed with AK-47 rifles, daggers, machetes and sticks. The men reportedly went from house to house robbing and killing anyone who tried to stop them.
“About 70 hoodlums stormed the small village pretending to be visitors while they shot at any person that came to receive them,” a Ligyado resident told The Nigeria Tribune.
We are on top of the situation, we are on the trail of the suspects, we have deployed more men to the trouble spots, Sunusi Amiru, a spokesman for Zamfara state police, told Reuters.
The village was deserted after the attack.
Zamfara is in Nigeria's Islamic north and the state was the first of 11 to institute Sharia law. However, the government has found no evidence linking the bombing to militant sect Boko Haram, the violent Islamic insurgent group responsible for bombing the United Nations building in Abuja in August.
On Saturday, gunmen suspected to be Boko Haram members attacked a military patrol in Maiduguri. Two people were killed after a gun fight between soldiers and militants.
Maiduguri has been the location of some of the worst violence in Nigeria in recent months, and thousands of people have fled the city for their safety.
Boko Haram -- which roughly translates to Western education is a sin -- is a three year-old anti-government movement that aims to turn Nigeria into an Islamic nation. Active almost exclusively in the country's Muslim north, Boko Haram has initiated a bloody campaign since the re-election of President Jonathan in April.
Boko Haram wants to establish god's kingdom on earth through Islamic institutions, and establish sharia in all the states in Nigeria, said Council on Foreign Relations' John Campbell.
Militant attacks have ranged from car bombings to drive-by-shootings, and about 300 people have been killed in Nigeria since July.
Also on Saturday, a group called the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) detonated bombs in Abuja's Eagle Square during Nigeria's Independence Day celebration, killing several people, according to Vanguard.
MEND warned government officials in advance, but the festivities were carried out as scheduled.
The irresponsible attitude of the government security forces is to blame for the loss of lives. They were given five days prior notice, MEND said in a statement. “The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta deeply regrets the avoidable loss of lives during our bomb attack in Abuja on Friday October 1, 2010. Our hearts go to the families of those killed who we know were sympathetic to our cause.”
MEND is older than Boko Haram and has no ties to the Islamic faction. Operating mostly in the south, as the group's name suggests, MEND uses force to try to extricate Nigeria from foreign oil companies.