Nigeria gunmen attack school, church

2012-08-20 21:40


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Kano - Gunmen in Nigeria's troubled northeast blew up part of a primary school then attacked a Catholic church and police station before officers fought them off, police said on Monday.

Separately, two gunmen riding on motorcycles opened fire on troops at a military checkpoint in the northern city of Kano on Sunday, injuring a soldier, military spokesperson Iweha Ikedichi said.

After the blast late on Sunday at the school in the Yobe state town of Damagun, which destroyed part of the building, officers deployed around the city, police spokesperson Toyin Gbadegesin told AFP.

Police then intercepted the militants as they tried to storm the church and the station early on Monday, he added.

It was not immediately clear who was responsible for the attacks, but they resembled those carried out by Islamist group Boko Haram, which is waging a deadly insurgency across northern and central Nigeria.

"At about 01:05 (00:05 GMT) attacks launched against Damagun police division and Catholic church were successfully repelled by the police, who were on full alert," Gbadegesin said.

He reported no casualties from the three incidents.

Damagun is roughly 30km from the Yobe state capital Damaturu, a city hit hard by Boko Haram which last week saw gun battles between officers and suspected Islamists that left at least two people dead.

Boko Haram, blamed for more than 1 400 deaths in Nigeria since 2010, have repeatedly targeted both the security services and churches as well as other symbols of authority.

Security has been tightened around the country for the Eid festivals, which mark the end of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan.

The Eid al-Fitr celebrations began at the weekend, but on Monday and Tuesday have also been declared public holidays.

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

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