Armed men in northeastern Nigeria have killed three North Korean doctors in the latest attack on health care workers in a country under assault by a radical Islamist sect.
Nigerian officials said Sunday that at least two of the doctors had their throats cut by unknown assailants who had entered their shared apartment overnight in the town of Potiskum, in Yobe state.
The Associated Press reported that the third physician was beheaded in the raid.
Initially, doctors at the hospital who worked with the physicians identified them as being from South Korea, while police identified the dead as being from China. Later, the chairman of the Yobe Hospital Managing Board confirmed the victims were North Korean and had lived in the state since 2005 as part of a medical program between Yobe and North Korea.
No one claimed responsibility for the attack, although Potiskum has been frequently targeted by the Islamist sect Boko Haram, a group that killed hundreds last year in its effort to carve out an Islamic state in Nigeria’s mostly Muslim north.
Boko Haram’s insurgency has contributed to a breakdown in order across the north of Africa’s most populous nation. Security sources believe criminal gangs carry out deadly armed robberies hoping the militants will be blamed.
On Friday, unknown gunmen on motorbikes shot dead nine health workers who were administering polio vaccinations in Nigeria’s main northern city of Kano.
Last year, four Chinese construction workers were shot dead by gunmen in two separate attacks in October and November in Borno state, which neighbors Yobe. Though no group has claimed responsibility for those attacks, they were similar to previous strikes against foreigners by Boko Haram. VOA