Suspected Islamists kill 39 in Nigeria village raid: locals

KANO, Nigeria (AFP) - Gunmen suspected to be Boko Haram Islamists raided a village in northeastern Nigeria as people were preparing for prayers, killing 39 people, local residents said on Sunday.

Dozens of attackers dressed in military uniform stormed Mainok, almost 50 km from the troubled city of Maiduguri, on Saturday, firing rocket propelled grenades and Kalashnikovs.

Twin blasts on Saturday also killed at least 35 in Maiduguri, a Boko Haram stronghold.

"They came in around 7:00 pm and opened fire indiscriminately with RPGs (rocket propelled grenades), explosives and AK-47 rifles," said resident Yahaya Umar.

"They killed 39 people who were buried this morning and destroyed the whole town," he said.

Another resident Abdullahi Gana gave a similar account of the incident.

"We were just lamenting the twin blasts in Maiduguri ... when the Boko Haram gunmen arrived and started firing volleys of RPGs and guns," he said.

Military and police authorities were not available for comment on the attack, the latest blamed on the Boko Haram Islamist group in the village.

The Islamists have repeatedly attacked Mainok in the past two years. In July, a separate raid killed 25 people.

The group, which claims to be fighting to impose Islamic Sharia law in northern Nigeria, has killed thousands of people since 2009.