A military official on Sunday said that 17 people, including a 13-year-old boy, were killed during a military and police operation against a radical Muslim sect in Nigeria's restive northeast.
Maj. Gen. Jack Nwachukwu Nwaogbo told journalists in the city of Maiduguri that a 13-year-old boy, five men and 11 suspected members of a radical sect locally known as Boko Haram were killed during the operation on Saturday evening.
He declined to comment on how they died.
Usman Abdullahi, the 36-year-old brother of a victim, said soldiers chased people in the streets for hours and shot at them. He said soldiers accused them of being sect members.
Nwaogbo said security forces launched a search operation after two suspected members threw two homemade bombs at patrol cars from a moving bus. He said the blasts injured five soldiers.
An activist group, the Civil Rights Congress of Nigeria, said in a statement Sunday that the war against Boko Haram "must be done within the ambit of the law and constitution."
Boko Haram, whose name means "Western education is sacrilege" in the local Hausa language, is responsible for a rash of killings targeting security officers, local leaders and clerics in the area over the last year. They have also claimed responsibility for a bombing at the nation's police headquarters that killed two last month