Gunmen attack Nigerian police stations

2012-06-27 12:42
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Kano - Gunmen attacked four police stations in Nigeria overnight, sparking battles that left at least four dead in the latest unrest in areas wracked by Islamist and ethnic violence, police said on Wednesday.

Two police stations were hit in the northern city of Kano on Tuesday night, while a third was targeted in Damaturu in the country's northeast. A fourth was attacked overnight in Wukari in eastern Taraba state.

In Kano, the Dala police station in the Goron Dutse area came under attack, police said. Residents also reported explosions followed by gunfire between police and attackers around the Panshekara station on the outskirts of the city.

"We are still trying to compile details of what happened at the [Goron Dutse] police station," police spokesperson Rilwanu Dutse said. "What is certain is that the police station came under bomb and gun attacks."

A police officer who was involved in the shootout said three attackers and a police corporal were killed, while another policeman was wounded. He said there were about 30 attackers.

An AFP journalist heard five explosions coming from the direction of the Goran Dutse station and saw smoke rising Tuesday evening. The explosions later halted from that attack and no one immediately claimed them.

Boko Haram members tend to throw small, homemade IEDs in such attacks.

No Details were not clear from the Panshekara station. Police had not officially commented, but a police source confirmed the attack.

Deadly reprisal violence


Kano, Nigeria's second city and the largest in the north, was the site of Boko Haram's deadliest attack yet, when co-ordinated bombings and shootings left at least 185 people dead in January.

In Taraba state, residents said gunfire and explosions broke out late on Tuesday and continued into Wednesday morning. A police spokesperson confirmed there was an attack on a regional police headquarters.

Taraba is located near north-eastern states badly shaken by Boko Haram violence. It also neighbours Plateau state, hit by waves of ethnic violence as well as Islamist attacks.

The Islamist group's insurgency, concentrated in Nigeria's mainly Muslim north, has killed more than 1 000 people since mid-2009.

Security forces have frequently been the victims of its attacks, though it has continually widened its targets.

It has recently taken to attacking churches on Sundays, leading to deadly reprisal violence from Christian mobs in the city of Kaduna earlier this month and sparking fears of wider unrest.

Nigeria, Africa's most populous nation and largest oil producer, is roughly divided between a mainly Muslim north and predominantly Christian south.

On Sunday, President Goodluck Jonathan said Boko Haram was seeking to incite a religious crisis by attacking churches in an attempt to destabilise the government.

Jonathan, who has come under heavy criticism in recent days over the spiralling violence, described how the group had moved from targeting local rivals to government institutions and now churches.

Growing warnings

On Friday, he fired his national security adviser and defence minister.

There have been growing warnings that there could be more cases of residents taking the law into their own hands if something is not done to halt Boko Haram's attacks.

The group initially said it was fighting for the creation of an Islamic state, but its demands have since shifted repeatedly. It is believed to have a number of factions, including a main Islamist wing.

Many say deep poverty and frustration in the north have been main factors in creating the insurgency.

The United States on Thursday said it had designated the head of the main branch of Boko Haram, Abubakar Shekau, a "global terrorist" along with two others tied to both Boko Haram and al-Qaeda's north African franchise Aqim.

Read more on:    aqim  |  al-qaeda  |  boko haram  |  goodluck jonathan  |  nigeria  |  west africa
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