Kano: Police have arrested 92 suspected members of a radical Islamist sect in raids after a series of attacks that killed eight people in northern Maiduguri city, a police chief said on Thursday.
"We have arrested 92 suspected members of the sect in raids we carried out on many parts of the city Wednesday through Thursday in connection with yesterday`s attacks, including a man in his 70s we believe is the sect`s major financier," Borno state police commissioner Mohammed Jinjiri Abubakar said on the phone from Maiduguri.
Eight people including three policemen were killed in five separate attacks by gunmen suspected of being Boko Haram members in the city late Wednesday, military and police officials said.
Policemen raided the house of the sect`s alleged bankroller where materials linking him to the sect were found.
The materials found included chemicals used in bomb making, audio tapes of the late sect leader`s preaching and machetes, Abubakar said.
Abubakar said the suspects had been taken to the police headquarters in Nigeria`s capital Abuja for further interrogation.
The sect launched an uprising in Nigeria`s north last year that ended with a police and military assault which left hundreds dead.
"The policemen were killed in Ruwan Zafi district of Maiduguri in an attack on a police patrol team by suspected Boko Haram sect members who also burnt down the patrol van," Army spokesman lieutenant Abubakar Abdullahi said.
Lawal Abdullahi, the police spokesman in Borno State, of which Maiduguri is the capital, also confirmed that three policemen were killed in the attack.
"We lost three men in a shootout with suspected members of the outlawed Boko Haram," he said. "The suspects launched an attack on one of our patrol vehicles and burnt it. The policemen were outnumbered by the attackers."
Five civilians were killed in four other separate targeted attacks launched by motorcycle-riding gunmen in the volatile northeastern city.
In two separate attacks in the same city, suspected Boko Haram gunmen killed a policeman and retired police officer on Tuesday while three civilians suffered gunshot wounds, the police said.