News / Africa

    Gunmen Storm Nigeria Police Station

    Reuters
    Gunmen stormed a police station and a bank in a town in Nigeria's northwest, beyond a region covered by a military crackdown on a Islamist insurgency, a sign the offensive could provoke violence by smaller militant cells across the north.

    It was not clear who carried out the attack.

    Several gunmen were killed during a clash with police in the remote town in Katsina state, army spokesman Ikedichi Iweha told Reuters, without giving specific figures or police casualties.

    Major attacks blamed on Nigeria's Boko Haram
     
    2009
    July - Attacks prompt government crackdown in Bauchi and Maiduguri; 800 people killed
     
    2010
    December - Bombings in central Nigeria and church attacks in the northeast kill 86
     
    2011
    June - Attack on a bar in Maiduguri kills 25
    August - Suicide bomber kills 23 at U.N. building in Abuja
    November - Bombings in Damaturu and Potiskum kill 65
    December - Christmas Day bombings across Nigeria kill 39
     
    2012
    January -- Gun and bomb attacks in Kano up to 200
    February - Maiduguri market attack kills 30
    June - Suicide car bombings at three churches kill 21
    July - Attacks in Plateau state kill dozens, including two politicians at a funeral for the victims
     
    2013
    February - French family kidnapped in Cameroon, held hostage for two months
    April - Fighting with troops in Baga kills up to 200; residents say troops set deadly fires
    May - Attacks in Bama kill more than 50
    July - Gunmen kill 30 at a school in Yobe
    August - Gunmen kill 44 at a mosque outside Maiduguri
    September - Gunmen kill 40 students at a post-secondary school in Yobe
    December - Militants attack military installations in Maiduguri

    2014
    January - Militants kill 74 people and burn down a village in attacks in Borno and Adamawa
    February - Gunmen kill as many as 60 in attack on school in Yobe
    April - Militants abduct 276 schoolgirls
    Nigerian forces are trying to regain territory controlled by increasingly well-armed Boko Haram Islamist insurgents in their northeastern stronghold states of Borno, Yobe and Adamawa, which were put under a state of emergency by President Goodluck Jonathan on Wednesday.

    Security experts believe a crackdown in the northeast could push insurgent attacks into other regions, or awaken smaller cells that operate in other parts of the north.

    "It's difficult to tell if this is a criminal attack or part of another Islamist cell,'' one security source said. "There have been incidents in the past in Katsina but it
    certainly hasn't been an insurgent stronghold.''

    Another security source said a bank was raided and prisoners were freed from the police station.

    Boko Haram, other Islamist groups like al-Qaida linked Ansaru and associated criminal gangs have become the biggest threat to stability in Africa's second largest economy and top oil producer.

    Thousands have been killed since Boko Haram launched an uprising almost four years ago in an effort to create an Islamic state in a country of around 170 million split roughly equally between Christians and Muslims.

    Violence has mostly happened far from economic centers such as the commercial hub Lagos or political capital Abuja and hundreds of miles away from oilfields in the southeast.

    Military jets, helicopter gunships and thousands of troops are involved in the current offensive, which may answer some critics who accuse Jonathan, a southern Christian, of underestimating the severity of the crisis in the Muslim north.

    Rights groups are concerned the state of emergency will lead to more abuses by Nigerian forces.

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