Abuja: At least 23 people were killed when suspected militants of radical Islamic sect Boko Haram attacked a northern Nigerian city with rocket launchers and grenades, even as one of the group`s leaders was captured from the house of a senator.
The attack in the northern city of Potiskum happened on Thursday evening when militants went on a rampage.
Hospital sources, where some of the bodies were taken, confirmed that 20 corpses were brought to their morgue even as residents said they had buried three bodies already.
The militants attacked the city with rocket launchers, grenades, guns and machetes and set ablaze an Islamic school and two other public schools with explosives, residents said.
They killed civilians with reckless abandon and also shot dead a police officer and a member of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), they said.
According to sources in the commercial town, the attack which was said to have lasted for over four hours, started from Sokol junction in the heart of the town before spreading to other parts.
Residents said many corpses were littered along the streets after the attack.
A day after the attack, a high-profile commander of Boko Haram, Shuaibu Muhammed Bama, was arrested from the house of a senator in the city, spokesman of the Joint Task Force, Lt Colonel Sagir Musa said.
Another man, said to be a commander of the sect, Bakura Kulima aka Bin Walid, was also killed in a security crackdown by Nigerian military, he added.
Boko Haram wants to install an Islamic caliphate in northern Nigeria though the region has a large number of Christians who are in the minority.
In the southern part of the country where the Christians are in majority, the sect has not been able to establish its presence.