World Bulletin/News Desk
Nigerian gunmen killed 46 police officers in an ambush in the central state of Nassarawa this week, police said on Thursday, the governor there believed a lesser-known local cult was behind the killings.
President Goodluck Jonathan cut short his trip to South Africa and Namibia to return home on Thursday and oversee efforts to contain threats to Nigerian security, highlighted by this week's bloodshed.
"Forty-six police officers were killed about 10 km (6 miles) from Lafia by members of a militia who had ambushed them on their way to an operation to arrest the leader of the militia group," police spokesman Sergie Ezegam said.
Local media quoted Nassarawa State Governor Tanko Al-Makura as saying the attack was carried out by a cult called Ombatse, meaning "the time has come" in the local Eggon language.
The group has attacked officials, churches and mosques in the past, he said, but added that this week's assault signified a marked escalation in the scale of its operations.
"Two weeks ago, we discovered a certain militia group holding arms and carrying out cult activities in the state," Al-Makura was quoted as saying in local papers.
"Since January, this thing has not abated and in the past two weeks, it has taken on a totally different dimension."
Two security sources also said they did not think the attack on Nassarawa was carried out by Boko Haram. The Ombatse group is motivated by ethnic rivalries within the state, one security source said.
Last Mod: 09 Mayıs 2013, 17:42