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5 Christians killed in N Nigeria

Xinhua | Updated: 2012-12-26 10:20

YOBE, Nigeria - Nigerian police in northeastern state of Yobe on Tuesday said five Christian worshipers were killed after midnight near the city of Potiskum by gunmen suspected to be the Boko Haram militant sect.

State police spokesperson Salihu Adamu told Xinhua that the incident occurred at about 2:00 am local time, when Christian worshipers were having prayers at ECWA Church in the Piri Village.

Adamu said the divisional police officer was yet to give details of the attack, adding that no arrest has been made.

Security sources in Potiskum told Xinhua that the gunmen stormed the church premises through the back door.

"They opened fire on the worshipers while praying and observing the Christmas celebration at about 2:00 am local time on Tuesday," he said.

"Five of the worshippers died and some were injured. The gunmen also burnt down the church after the killing," Barnabas Musa, a Potiskum resident who also lost his relative in the attack told Xinhua on phone.

He said a pastor in the church was among the five people killed by the gunmen.

This is not the first Christmas attack in Nigeria, which witnessed the killing of more than 40 people at the St. Theresa Catholic Church in Niger State on Christmas Day last year.

Some churches have come under consistent attacks claimed by Boko Haram, which wants Christians to move south from the Muslim-dominated north.

The sect staged an uprising in the northeastern city of Maiduguri in 2009, attacking state institutions including prisons, police stations and schools.

Thousands of people have been killed either in attacks or clashes between Boko Haram fighters and Nigerian security forces.

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