Suspected Islamists kill eight in northern Nigeria

Boko Haram has also been blamed for recent raids on churches and a prison.

Updated: May 28, 2011, 09:53 AM IST

Kano: Gunmen believed to be members of a radical Islamist sect attacked a police station, police barracks and a bank in northern Nigeria on Friday, killing eight people, police said.

"Around 70 gunmen believed to be members of Boko Haram launched three separate attacks on a police barracks, a police station and a bank," Borno State police commissioner Mohammed Jinjiri Abubakar said.

The attacks happened in Damboa, about 100 kilometres (62 miles) south of Maiduguri, the state capital.

"Eight people were killed in the attacks, including four policemen. The other four were residents," he said.

Five other people were seriously injured, he added.

"They stormed the town in four buses and some motorcycles and used guns and explosives in the attacks before a joint military and police team engaged them in a shootout that lasted for over one hour," he said.

Police had launched a manhunt for the attackers after they escaped the scene, the police chief added.

Police have blamed the sect for a series of bomb attacks and shootings in Maiduguri in recent months.

Most of the attacks have targeted military and police personnel, community and religious leaders, and politicians.

Boko Haram, which means `western education is sin` in a local dialect, launched a short-lived uprising in parts of the north in 2009 in a doomed bid to establish an Islamic state.

The attempt was crushed in a brutal military crackdown that saw hundreds of people, including many sect members, killed and its headquarters and mosque destroyed in Maiduguri, where most of the violence has occurred.

The sect has since staged a low-level insurgency and has been blamed for recent raids on churches and a prison.

Bureau Report