Kano: Three bomb blasts have hit a city in northeastern Nigeria, leaving a number of people killed and wounded in an attack believed to have been carried out by an Islamist sect, police said Monday.
The blasts on Sunday night ahead of Tuesday`s state governorship elections occurred at a hotel tavern and outside the gate of a transport hub in Maiduguri, police spokesman Mai Mamman said.
Unrest swept across Nigeria`s north following April 16 presidential elections won by incumbent Goodluck Jonathan, with hundreds believed killed, but it was unclear whether the bomb blasts had any connection to the rioting.
Maiduguri has long been hit by violence blamed on an Islamist sect known as Boko Haram, which launched an uprising in 2009, though some of the recent attacks are believed to have been politically linked.
"For sure casualties were recorded, but we cannot say how many dead or how many were injured in the blast," Mamman said.
"The victims were evacuated to two hospitals in the city. We will have to sort out the victims to ascertain how many were dead and how many were injured. From all indications, this is the handiwork of Boko Haram, which has carried out similar attacks in the past."
Of the three blasts, two occurred at the hotel and one at the motor park.
Boko Haram had distributed fliers earlier Sunday warning of further attacks.
"We want to reiterate that we are fighters waging jihad in Nigeria," the fliers said.
"We will never accept any system of governance apart from the one described by Islam because that is the only way Muslims can be liberated. We do not respect the Nigerian government because it is illegal.
"We will continue to fight its military and police because they are not protecting Islam," the fliers said.
The sect launched an uprising in 2009 put down by a brutal military assault that left hundreds dead. In recent months, it has been blamed for a series of attacks and shootings, most of them in Maiduguri.
Boko Haram is "Western education is sin" in the local Hausa language, though the group has gone by various names.
Nigeria holds governorship polls in most of its 36 states on Tuesday, including in Borno, where Maiduguri is located. Boko Haram is seen as opposed to the ruling party in the state.
Violence has also marred the campaign ahead of the vote in Borno, including the assassination of one of the leading candidates.
At least four other explosions have hit Maiduguri in recent weeks, including one the night before the presidential election and one the day of the vote.
Two explosions also hit Maiduguri on the day of the April 9 parliamentary polls.