Nigeria: 19 killed in gun battles

The violence, which authorities blamed on Boko Haram, targeted the cities of Kano and the northeastern city of Maiduguri.

Updated: Jun 06, 2012, 15:57 PM IST

Abuja: At least 19 people have been killed in fierce gun battles between military and suspected members of radical Islamist sect Boko Haram in Nigeria`s northeast.

Sixteen militants were killed in northern Maiduguri city yesterday in the gunfight between a special Nigerian military unit and members of Boko Haram sect.

Military spokesman Col Victor Ebhaleme said that soldiers invaded a Boko Haram hideout and killed 16 militants.

Army suffered no casualties on its side, Ebhaleme added.

The operation, which lasted for hours, also led to the recovery of heavy arms and ammunition.

Meanwhile, in Kano, police spokesperson Rilwan Mohammed said Boko Haram militants opened fire and killed three people, including two police officers.

Mohammed, however, declined to provide further details.

Boko Haram has been bombing churches and other public squares in the oil-rich African country with the intention of installing an Islamic rule. The group had targeted and killed several politicians and Muslim religious leaders in the northern region for not conforming to their aspiration.

More than 800 persons have been killed in its attacks which involve shooting bombing and suicide bombings.