Cops tighten security in Nigerian city

2010-10-13 14:07

Kano - Police have stepped up security in northern Nigerian city of Maiduguri where suspected Islamists attacked and torched a police station early this week, it said on Wednesday.

At least two police officers were wounded while two others were unaccounted for after the attack late on Monday in which the suspects used homemade explosives, police said.

"Security has been tightened in Maiduguri metropolis. We have set up more police checkpoints," Borno state police spokesperson, Mai Mamman, said.

"We are expecting more deployments from (the nearby states of) Bauchi, Gombe and Plateau States," he said, without giving further details.

Local dailies speculated on Wednesday that the federal government was considering deploying troops to Maiduguri following the attack suspected to have been staged by members of an extremist Boko Haram sect.

Armed police are on round-the-clock patrols and checkpoints have been mounted across the city to stop-and-search cars, motorcyclists and pedestrians, said residents of Maiduguri, epicentre of last year's bloody uprising by Boko Haram members.

Mamman said no arrests have yet been made after the latest attack.

The attack comes after months of a wave of shootings by motorcycle-riding gunmen in northern Nigeria blamed on Boko Haram. Police, politicians and recently an Islamic cleric have been among the victims.

Suspected sect members also attacked a prison last month in Bauchi state using homemade bombs and machine guns, freeing more than 700 inmates. Around 100 alleged Boko Haram members were among those who escaped.

Last year's uprising began with attacks on police posts and ended with a brutal assault by authorities that left hundreds, mostly sect members, dead.

The sect had fought for the creation of an Islamic state in Africa's most populous nation, whose 150 million people are divided roughly in half between Christians and Muslims.