Islamic Gunmen Kill 8 in Nigeria Bar

Posted January 10th, 2012 at 8:05 pm (UTC-5)
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Suspected radical Islamic gunmen have shot eight people to death, including four policemen, in a bar in northern Nigeria.

Police blamed the Tuesday night attack, in the town of Potiskum in Yobe state, on Boko Haram. The fundamentalist group has threatened to kill Christians in Muslim-majority northern Nigeria as it seeks to turn the country into a staunchly Islamic state.

Boko Haram is responsible for hundreds of deaths in the past year including the Christmas Day bombings of several churches and the August attack on a United Nations office in Abuja, killing 25.

Meanwhile, Nigerian officials have ordered striking government workers to get back to their jobs or they will not get paid.

Nigeria's main labor unions ordered workers to stay home until the government restores a fuel subsidy eliminated on January 1. Dropping the subsidy caused fuel prices to double.

Huge crowds marched across Nigeria Tuesday against the soaring price of gasoline and government corruption. Enraged youths burned tires in Lagos to stop people from going to and from the city's wealthy district.

An angry mob attacked a mosque and a school in the southern city of Benin. The Nigerian Red Cross said five people were killed. A Red Cross official blames those attacks on the tension between Muslims and Christians.

President Goodluck Jonathan has so far refused to reinstate the subsidy, saying the government can no longer afford it. He says getting rid of the subsidy will save at least $8 billion this year, which he promises to use on infrastructure and social programs. Most Nigerians live on less than $2 a day and the fuel subsidy was one of the few benefits they received from the country's oil wealth. Nigeria is Africa's top oil producer.

Protesters said graft is the real cause of the nation's problems.

“We are talking about the fuel subsidy, but the real problem is corruption, they are wasting our money.”

Some economists have called the subsidy corrupt and wasteful, saying it encouraged smuggling into neighboring countries where fuel was more expensive.

(( # # # aptn, Reuters video ) )