ABUJA - Islamist insurgents dressed as soldiers opened fire on worshippers leaving a mosque in Nigeria's far northeast this week, killing at least 35 in the second such attack this month, officials said on Friday.
"Boko Haram people attacked the village on the ground that they have refused to cooperate with them, that they refused their message," defence spokesman Brigadier General Chris Olukolade told AFP of the incident in Dumba, referring to Islamist extremist group Boko Haram.
"The report that was presented has it that 35 people were killed and 14 wounded."
The attack occurred on Monday, but the information did not become public until Friday with phone lines cut in the region and the village located in a remote area.
A separate military source speaking on condition of anonymity said Boko Haram gunmen dressed as soldiers entered the village early Monday and took up positions at a crossroads, where they fired upon worshippers leaving a mosque after morning prayers.
The source said the attack was believed to be in reprisal for a raid by soldiers and vigilantes in the village the previous week that resulted in the arrest of Boko Haram members.
Separately earlier this month on August 10 and 11, suspected Boko Haram members stormed a mosque in Konduga and shot dead 44 worshippers as well as 12 other people in a nearby village in another area of the northeast.
Those attacks were believed to be revenge over citizen vigilante groups forming to help the military battle Boko Haram, which has been waging an insurgency since 2009.
Nigeria's military launched an offensive in the northeast in May aiming to end Boko Haram's insurgency.
The pattern of attacks that has occurred since then indicates the insurgents may have to a large degree scattered into more remote areas of the region. Dumba is located near Lake Chad and close to Nigeria's borders with Cameroon, Chad and Niger.
It is near the town of Baga, where in April the military faced accusations of major abuses after nearly 200 people were left dead, with residents alleging soldiers shot civilians and set fire to much of the community.
Also on Monday, Nigeria's military claimed that Boko Haram chief Abubakar Shekau "may have died" from a gunshot wound following a clash with soldiers on June 30.
However, there has been no confirmation and violence has continued.
Boko Haram's insurgency has left more than 3,600 dead since 2009, including killings by the security forces, who have been accused of major abuses. Boko Haram has claimed to be fighting for the creation of an Islamic state in Africa's most populous nation and largest oil producer, though the group is believed to have a number of factions with varying aims.
Nigeria's 160 million population is roughly divided between a mainly Christian south and mostly Muslim north.
The insurgency has moved in phases, at times targeting churches, security forces and schools. A 2011 suicide bombing of UN headquarters in Abuja left 25 people dead.
While Christians have been specifically targeted, Muslims have often been its victims as well.