Northern Nigerian Political Leader Killed by Suspected Islamic Militants

Gunmen suspected to be members of a radical Islamic sect launched two separate attacks in Nigeria’s northeastern city of Maiduguri, killing a political leader and injuring a policeman, a security official said.

The attackers, who were riding on motorbikes, “shot and killed” Awana Ngala yesterday, a leader of the All Nigeria People’s Party, which controls Borno state, said Mai Mamman, a police spokesman in the region.

A similar attack was made yesterday on the residence of the speaker of the state legislature, Goni Ali Modu, in which a police guard was shot and injured, Mamman said by phone today from Maiduguri, the state capital. The attacks are suspected to be the work of the Boko Haram sect, he said.

The group, which opposes Western-style education and draws inspiration from Afghanistan’s Taliban, attacked police stations across several northern Nigerian cities in July 2009, prompting the government to deploy troops. At least 700 people died in the fighting, leading Nigeria’s security forces to shell the sect’s headquarters in Maiduguri. Boko Haram’s 39-year-old leader, Mohammed Yusuf, was killed.

Gunmen suspected of belonging to the sect last month attacked a prison in the northern city of Bauchi, freeing 721 inmates, including scores of its members awaiting trial for the 2009 violence.

Nigeria, Africa’s top oil producer and most populous country with about 140 million people, is roughly divided between a mainly Muslim north and a predominantly Christian south.

To contact the reporter on this story: Ardo Hazzad in Bauchi via Johannesburg at pmrichardson@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Antony Sguazzin in Johannesburg at asguazzin@bloomberg.net.

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