Suspected Islamists Carry Out Twin Attacks in North Nigeria

Suspected Islamist militants struck two cities in northeastern Nigeria, a state government spokesman and police said, three days after a gun and bomb assault on a mosque killed more than 100 people in Kano.

In Yobe’s state capital, Damaturu, the military called in air support as it battled the attackers, Abdullahi Bego, a spokesman for state Governor Ibrahim Gaidam, said in e-mailed comments.

“As a result of their effort, Damaturu remains firmly under government control,” he said. “Security agents will continue to track and pursue any remnants of the attackers who might still be hiding in town.”

Hours after the first shots were fired in Damaturu, a suicide bombing killed five people at a market in Maiduguri, the capital of neighboring Borno state, state police spokesman Gideon Jibrin said.

The government of Africa’s biggest economy is struggling to contain a rebellion by the Islamist group Boko Haram, whose name roughly translates as “Western education is a sin.” The militants have killed more than 13,000 people in the past five years, according to President Goodluck Jonathan.

Kano Attack

The northeastern states of Borno, Yobe and Adamawa, bordering Cameroon and Chad, have been hit by almost daily attacks on schools, markets, churches, mosques and other public places.

National police spokesman Emmanuel Ojukwu, speaking by phone from the capital, Abuja, didn’t provide a death toll, while the West African nation’s military spokesman, Chris Olukolade, didn’t answer calls to his mobile phone.

A day after the assault in Kano, northern Nigeria’s biggest city, suspected militants attacked Shani village in Borno state, killing and injuring an unknown number of people, police commissioner Clement Adoda said.

Boko Haram fighters are also suspected of raiding a cement plant in Nigeria last month, stealing large quantities of explosives.

“Boko Haram seeks to scare and intimidate Christian and Muslim alike through wanton destruction,” Bola Tinubu, national leader of the opposition All Progressives Congress, said yesterday in a statement. His party is seeking to unseat President Goodluck Jonathan in elections on Feb. 14.

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