66 Killed In Nigerian Terrorist Attacks; Local Jihadist Group Blamed

Sixty-six people were killed in two separate attacks in Nigeria Sunday, with officials blaming the simultaneous incidents on an Islamic jihadist group that's been terrorizing the region for months.

In the town of Konduga, 44 people were gunned down while praying at a mosque by assailants in military fatigues Sunday morning, according to state security officials. Civilian JTF, a civilian vigilante group, responded when it heard reports of the attack, with a member of the group claiming that four of its vigilantes were killed after being met with “fierce resistance from heavily armed terrorists.”

On the way back from the scene of the Konduga attack, security forces came upon the site of another massacre at the Ngom village three miles away, where 12 bodies were found.

Northeast Nigeria has been host to a slew of religious violence over the past year, with several regions —including Konduga — under military states of emergency. While the identities of the most recent gunmen haven’t been confirmed, officials suspect they may be members of Boko Haram, a jihadist group seeking to overthrown the Nigerian government and institute Islamic law.

The group has claimed responsibility for numerous attacks on local mosques in the past, and as news broke of the most recent attacks, journalists received a new video of Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau.

In the video, Shekau gloated over the Boko Haram’s recent attacks, and vowed to wage more terror against the group’s enemies, which include not only Christians and Westerners, but also moderate Muslim clerics who denounce religious extremism.

"We have killed countless soldiers and we are going to kill more,” Shekau said in the video.

State security agents say the assailants may have obtained their military garb during one of their recent attacks on military bases.