Okene, Kogi – At Least 23 Dead – City Under Curfew

Okene, Kogi – At Least 23 Dead – City Under Curfew

An outburst of violence made the authorities take measures

The spate of violence in Okene in central Nigeria began on Monday night, when gunmen stormed an evangelical church, cut the electricity and opened fire once the building was plunged into darkness. Many of the attendants were wounded, 19 people died.

On Tuesday in Okene's city centre, assailants shot at troops on patrol, sparking an exchange of fire that left two soldiers and two of the gunmen dead, Kogi state police spokesman Simon Ile said.

It is not clear who carried out the church killings or whether the two attacks were linked, although Ile said there was “suspicion” that the same group was responsible for both assaults.

Boko Haram, a radical group of Islamist insurgents, has repeatedly targeted Christians during church worship as well as the security forces in a series of gun raids and suicide blasts.

In response, authorities in Nigeria's Kogi state have slapped a dusk-to-dawn curfew on a key city after such outburst of violence, officials said on Wednesday. “The curfew is imposed in all of Okene, from dusk to dawn,” said Jacob Edi, spokesman for the state governor. Motorcycle taxi drivers are also barred from operating in Okene and the state capital Lokoja during night hours, he told AFP, adding that state was calm on Wednesday.

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