Deadly raid in northern Nigeria

2011-12-19 10:30

Kano - A shoot-out between Nigerian police and suspected members of the Islamist group Boko Haram has left seven dead, while 14 people have been arrested and explosives seized, authorities said on Sunday.

The shoot-out on Saturday in Kano came after a suspected Boko Haram leader discovered his house was under surveillance and called out other members of the group to attack police, Kano state police commissioner Ibrahim Idris said.

Two of the police officers on surveillance duty in the northern city were killed, Idris told reporters. Reinforcements were sent, with one of those officers also shot dead and another wounded.

"Four of the syndicate members were shot dead," he said, referring to the suspected Boko Haram members.

Some of the extremists fled, and the suspected leader, Mohammed Aliyu, who also goes by the alias Hamza, was arrested at a checkpoint, according to Idris. Members of the public also pursued the suspects, he said.

Police said they found rifles in his car that had been stolen from police in Yobe and Kaduna states. Bomb materials were found in his house, according to Idris.

Raids were also carried out on other locations earlier in the week that led to arrests and the seizure of weapons and explosives, the commissioner announced. A total of 14 arrests were made in the operations, he said.

Police said the suspects were not from Kano, the largest city in northern Nigeria, and indicated they had come from Borno and Yobe states, which have been hard hit by violence blamed on Boko Haram.

Northern Nigeria has been hit by scores of attacks blamed on the Islamist sect, but Kano had not previously been targeted since the latest round of violence attributed to the group began in 2010.

In an incident on Thursday, gunmen attacked a military-run school outside the city, killing at least three air force personnel, but it was unclear if there was any link to Boko Haram.

A purported spokesperson for the sect, Abul Qaqa, told reporters the group was not behind the school attack, but claimed it was involved in the shoot-out at the house in Kano.

Most of the violence attributed to Boko Haram has occurred in the country's northeast, but it also claimed responsibility for the August suicide bombing of UN headquarters in Abuja that killed at least 24 people.

It is believed to have several factions with varying aims.