Abuja: At least 10 people, including two civilians, were killed when militants of a radical Islamic sect used gunfire and explosives to target a market in a northern Nigerian city, leading to a gunbattle with security forces.
Militants of Boko Haram launched a revenge attack on the market where one of their members was killed by an irate mob and gunned down at least two traders, sources said.
The security forces retaliated strongly and at least eight militants were killed in the ensuing gunfight.
Locals told a news agency that a member of the radical group was killed in the market seven days ago.
The militants threw several explosives into the market and some other parts of the city today, attracting the attention of the soldiers on patrol.
A resident said that at least 15 persons were killed in the ensuing gun battle with the military but the Joint Task Force (JTF) said it had killed only eight members of the sect.
Sources at the market claimed that while two traders were gunned down, several others were wounded before the soldiers came.
"We saw about three pick up vans loaded with people in front of Ibrahim Taiwo Police Station, opposite the Baga Market this afternoon shortly after the gun battle with members of the sect, but we cannot tell whether they were corpses or those wounded," a source said.
The spokesman of the JTF, Lt Col Hassan Mohammed said the military has successfully killed eight members of the Islamic sect Boko Haram during a gun battle at the Baga Market.
"Our men who arrived the Market engaged members of the Boko Haram sect in gun battle and we successfully killed eight of the sect members where we recovered weapons as well as detonated some IEDs," Lt Col Hassan Mohammed said.
He said three traders were caught in the crossfire but were taken to hospital where they were receiving medical attention.
Boko Haram sect has been waging a bloody war to install Sharia rule in Africa's largest oil producer nation.
A suicide bomb attack by the group at the United Nations headquarters in Abuja last July had killed 26 persons.
Last month, more than 185 people were killed in a coordinated bomb and gun attacks by the group in the northern city of Kano.
On Saturday, gunmen shot dead a cleric and local politician in northeastern city of Maiduguri though the sect did not claim responsibility for the attack.
First Published: Tuesday, March 20, 2012, 00:30