KANO, (AFP) – Suspected members of Islamist group Boko Haram on Wednesday shot dead four Christians who were believed to be fleeing violence-torn Maiduguri, residents said.
“Their car had just pulled up at a filling station outside the town to refuel when suspected Boko Haram gunmen in another car also pulled up and opened fire on the Igbos, killing them on the spot,” said a resident of the city of Potiskum who sells groceries nearby.
Members of the Igbo ethnic group are overwhelmingly Christian and generally originate from the country’s east. The attack occurred on the outskirts of Potiskum.
“The car the victims were travelling in was stuffed with bags and other personal effects and it was clear they were heading for the east,” the resident said.
They were thought to be traveling from Maiduguri, a city wracked by violence blamed on Boko Haram.
Another resident gave a similar account. Police confirmed the attack, but said the victims’ ethnic group was unknown as was the identity of the gunmen.
Recent religious violence, most of it blamed on Boko Haram, has sparked fears of a wider religious conflict and talk of the possibility of civil.