Yar'Adua condemns attacks

2009-07-28 09:57

Bauchi - Nigerian President Umaru Musa Yar'Adua has ordered security agencies to take all necessary action to contain and repel the sad and shocking attacks by extremists, a presidential statement said.

The president put the security forces on full alert.

He also "directed that security be beefed up in all neighbouring states and security personnel placed on full alert to ensure that the attacks by misguided elements do not spread elsewhere".

In Borno, heavily armed Taliban-inspired Islamist rebels reportedly torched two police stations, several churches, a prison, a school, government unemployment bureau and a customs office.

Several telecommunications masts were burnt, cutting off many parts of the city.

"Its quite scary," a resident, Muhammad Auwal Mujahid, told AFP by telephone. "All you hear is frightening sounds from guns."

In Wudil, a town on the outskirts of Kano, the biggest city in northern Nigeria, militants attacked a police station but were repelled in clashes that left three rebels dead, Kano police spokesperson Baba Mohammed said.

Dusk-to-dawn curfew

In Yobe, the militants doused a police station with petrol and set it alight.

Yobe authorities have imposed a dusk-to-dawn curfew on Potiskum, a major city, while 25 suspects have been arrested, government spokesperson Abdullahi Bego said.

The fighting broke out on Sunday in Bauchi state when police hit back at militants after they attacked a police station. An AFP reporter said calm had returned to Bauchi by Monday, where a dusk-to-dawn curfew was imposed on Sunday.

The Nigerian extremists emerged in 2004 in Maiduguri before setting up a base - dubbed "Afghanistan" - in Kanamma village in Yobe, on the border with Niger, from where it attacked police outposts and killed police officers.

The north of Nigeria is mainly Muslim, although large Christian minorities have settled in the main towns, raising tensions between the two groups.

Since 1999 and the return of a civilian regime to Nigeria's central government, 12 northern states have introduced Islamic Sharia law. The latest attacks, which independent security analysts say were co-ordinated, affected a third of these states.