Boko Haram rebels kill 8 in north Nigeria
AFP KANO SUSPECTED members of Islamist group Boko Haram have killed at least eight people, including a policeman, in separate attacks in restive northern Nigeria, police said on Friday.
The attacks, which also wounded a policeman, occurred in three different cities, with most of the violence in Maiduguri, the capital of Borno state in Nigeria’s northeast where Boko Haram has been based. “Five people were killed yesterday by gunmen suspected to be Boko Haram, in a bakery. All five were labourers in the bakery, located in the Polo area of Maiduguri,” Borno state police commissioner Bala Hassan told AFP.
He said two gunmen stormed the bakery with guns concealed in a sack and shot the five dead. The attackers fled before police arrived, he said. Hassan said a customs officer was shot dead on Wednesday at Gamboru market in Maiduguri, while a water vendor was also killed in another area of the city on the same day. In nearby Yobe state, police spokesman Toyin Gbadegeshin told AFP a policeman was killed outside his house in the state capital on Thursday. “We lost a policeman to unidentified gunmen who trailed and killed him outside his house at Pawari neighbourhood of Damaturu,” he said, adding that Boko Haram was suspected.
In yet another attack, a policeman was wounded by gunmen who opened fire on him outside a petrol station in Kano, the largest city in Nigeria’s north.
Boko Haram has been blamed for scores of shootings and bomb blasts, mostly in northern Nigeria, in an increasingly deadly insurgency that has killed more than 1,000 people since 2009.
Criminal groups have also carried out violence and robberies under the guise of Boko Haram.
The US embassy in Nigeria warned on Wednesday that Boko Haram may be planning attacks against hotels or other targets in the Nigerian capital Abuja, but the government downplayed the alert and said there was no cause for alarm.
Meanwhile, in a related development, Nigerian authorities on Friday denied establishing asecret detention centre for Boko Haram suspects, after media reports accused the government of building an African version of the controversial US military prison on Guantanamo Bay.The reports earlier this week quoted an unnamed top security official, who said the government was opening a secret centre in economic capital Lagos “to hold and interrogate suspected high-level members” of the radical Islamic sect.
The government has no such plan, Interior Minister Abba Moro told Nigerian newspaper Punch.“To the best of my knowledge, there is no such (facility),” he said.
“The prisons in Lagos are full already and we are not contemplating any movement of terror suspects to anywhere.” The Nigerian Prisons Service (NPS) also said it was not aware of the plan, although an unnamed NPS source told Punch that it would not be “wise” to “reveal such a strategic plan in the media.” Boko Haram, which translates as “Western education is forbidden,”has increased its campaign on schools, places of worship and civilians in recent months.The group has refused to heed calls for a peaceful resolution of the crisis. Last week, it released a new video in which it said it “planned to devour” President Goodluck Jonathan “within three months.” Boko Haram has claimed responsibility for attacks over the past two years across northern and central Nigeria.
Its deadliest strike was in Kano city in January, when an estimated 200 people were killed in a wave of shootings and bombings.