2 Bengalis killed in Nigeria ‘terror’ raid

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By OUR SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT
  • Published 27.07.12
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New Delhi, July 26: Two Bengalis were killed and another critically injured when suspected Islamist terrorists attacked a factory in Nigeria’s trouble-torn Maiduguri city yesterday.

Armed men, suspected to be Boko Haram terrorists, attacked workers at the Adebar Trades and Industries Limited, set up by another Bengali in 2007, and demanded money from the employees.

According to Indian high commissioner Mahesh Kumar Sachdev, the armed gang knifed Sanker Saha and Bokul Chander Mondal, both aged 35, even after being given 90,000 naira (around Rs 31,000).

The third worker, Biresh Yadav, 43, tried to run from the attackers but was caught and stabbed. He is admitted to the Maiduguri University Teaching Hospital where his condition was stated to be critical.

All three men had been living in Maiduguri with their families ever since the factory, engaged in processing and export of Gum Arabic, was set up in 2007 by Sukhdeb Saha. It is not known if the three were related or known to the owner, Sachdev said. The bodies of Sankar and Bokul bodies would be cremated tomorrow.

Maiduguri is the epicentre of Boko Haram activities. The group took shape after an uprising in the city in 2009.

The outfit has killed hundreds of people this year in its bid to carve out an Islamic state in the country, where the population is split between Muslims and Christians. In recent months, the outfit has expanded to Abuja, the Nigerian capital.

Sachdev said the high commission had already asked the concerned Nigerian authorities to conduct a detailed probe on the incident.

“We strongly condemn this attack on innocent Indian nationals. Indians have lived peacefully in Nigeria. They have contributed significantly to Nigeria’s socio-economic development,” Sachdev said.

According to the envoy, Indians were liked by people in Nigeria and there was no history of animosity against the three Bengalis who were also popular with their colleagues.

“If it is a terror attack, it would be the first against Indians in Nigeria. Regardless of motive, such wanton attacks on innocent Indians do not serve the cause of peace and socio-economic development and friendly ties between Nigerians and Indians,” the high commissioner added.

Yesterday’s attack was one of the three strikes by suspected Boko Haram terrorists in recent months.

Sachdev, however, refused to “speculate” if yesterday’s attack was the handiwork of Boko Haram. He said he would “wait for the official statement from the Nigerian side”.