Toll from Nigerian clashes up to 18

2012-06-27 19:32

Kano - The death toll from the latest gun battles between militants and police in northern Nigeria, wracked by Islamist and ethnic violence, rose to 18 on Wednesday, police said.

Gunmen attacked five police posts and a prison across three cities late on Tuesday, sparking responses from security forces, with the heaviest fighting concentrated in Kano, Nigeria's second city and the largest in the north.

No group claimed responsibility for the raids, but the violence was likely to be blamed on Boko Haram Islamists, responsible for more than 1 000 deaths in Nigeria since mid-2009.

The militants launched gun and bomb attacks on Kano's Dala, Panshekara and Challawa police posts, said state police commissioner Ibrahim Idris.

The Goron Dutse prison was also targeted.

"All these attacks were repelled," he said. "A total of 17 extremists were killed by our men and we lost a police corporal."

He added that three suspects were arrested and were being interrogated, while officers recovered 14 improvised explosive devices as well as rifles, ammunition and vehicles following the clashes.

Kano was the site of Boko Haram's deadliest attack yet, when coordinated bombings and shootings left at least 185 people dead in January.