MAIDUGURI, Nigeria -- An attack by suspected Islamic extremist rebels has killed nine people in northeast Nigeria, police and witnesses said Thursday, one of several deadly attacks this week in the troubled region.
At least 15 people have been killed in attacks in northeast Nigeria this week.
The suspected Boko Haram members stormed Geidam, a border town in Yobe State, and opened fire on residents, according to witnesses. Those killed include two women and a retired inspector of police, said Dungus Abdulkareem with the Yobe State Police Command.
The militants came on foot and “began to shoot,” resident Babagana Umar told The Associated Press.
“We all thought it was soldiers shooting until we began to hear people screaming and running," Umar said. “They burned down a school before storming a local alcohol and relaxation joint (where) the terrorists shot at some persons and then tied others’ hands from behind and slit their throats.”
No group has yet claimed responsibility for the Wednesday attack.
The Islamic State group, however, claimed responsibility for an explosion in neighboring Taraba state that killed six people earlier in the week. That attack targeted a “gathering of Christian disbelievers inside a crowded bar” in Taraba, the group said.
The group also said that its fighters killed five soldiers in a separate attack on an army post in Marte town in Borno State although the Nigerian army did not confirm this.
Security has been beefed up in areas hit by the attacks, police have said.
Nigeria, Africa's most populous country with 206 million people, continues to grapple with a 10-year-old insurgency by Islamic extremists in the northeast carried out by Boko Haram and its offshoot, the Islamic State West Africa Province. The extremists are fighting to establish Shariah law and to stop Western education.
More than 35,000 have died and millions have been displaced by the violence, according to the U.N. Development Program.
On Wednesday, Nigerian leader President Muhammadu Buhari criticized the insurgents who have forbidden western education in parts of Nigeria's north where they operate.
“God is justice. You can’t kill innocent people and shout Allah Akbar (God is great). It’s either you don’t know that God at all, or you are simply being stupid," Buhari said. “To say Western education is unacceptable is very fraudulent.”
Asadu reported from Abuja, Nigeria. Maamoun Youssef contributed to this report from Cairo, Egypt.