Nigerian army officers refused to comment yesterday on reports that soldiers killed more than 30 civilians in Maiduguri on Monday.
Troops also set fire to homes and shops in the rampage, which was apparently in revenge for a bomb attack that killed a lieutenant and six other soldiers.
One soldier told reporters: "They killed our officer. We had no options."
But witness reports suggested the victims were unarmed and there was no evidence that they had been linked to the bombing, thought to be the work of radical Islamist terror group Boko Haram.
The organisation is waging an increasingly bloody campaign to impose sharia law across Nigeria and the army has been accused of resorting to indiscriminate violence in response.
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