Nigeria's Boko Haram kills 5 in new attacks - officials

MAIDUGURI, Nigeria Thu Jul 26, 2012 7:40pm IST

People walk in front of a mosque after a bomb attack in Nigeria's north-eastern city of Maiduguri July 13, 2012. REUTERS/Olatunji Omirin

People walk in front of a mosque after a bomb attack in Nigeria's north-eastern city of Maiduguri July 13, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Olatunji Omirin

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MAIDUGURI, Nigeria (Reuters) - Suspected members of Islamist sect Boko Haram have killed at least five people in attacks on a police station, a local government office and a factory owned by Indians in the northeast city of Maiduguri, authorites said on Thursday.

Two Indians were killed when gunmen stormed their factory on Wednesday, while at least three people died in a separate attack the same day.

"Two policemen and one civilian were killed in the attack and we are on the trail of the culprits," Police Commissioner Bala Hassan told Reuters.

Witness Alhaji Bukar Aisami told Reuters he saw four dead policeman at the scene. He said a local government office was also attacked but there were no casualties.

"Information available indicates that suspected Boko Haram terrorists attacked a gum arabic factory operated by Indians located at Bayan Quarters in Maiduguri on Wednesday," said Sagir Musa, spokesman for the military Joint Task Force.

"The incident led to the death of two Indians with one wounded, who is receiving treatment at the hospital."

The attackers stole 90,000 naira, he said.

Boko Haram has killed hundreds this year in its campaign to carve out an Islamic state in Nigeria, whose population is split evenly between Christians and Muslims.

The group was born out of an uprising in 2009 in Maiduguri, capital of Borno state.

Most of its attacks have been in Borno, but its threat has spread across northern Nigeria and to the capital Abuja this year, with suicide bombings and coordinated attacks increasingly common.

The group is believed to have a loose leadership structure and several cells working independently of each other. Criminal gangs are happy for Boko Haram to take the blame for robberies and assassinations.

President Goodluck Jonathan has come under increasing pressure to stem the flow of violence, which is slowing economic growth in the mainly Muslim north.

He sacked the national security adviser and minister of defence last month and promised new tactics to fight terrorism but gave no details. (Writing by Joe Brock; Editing by Andrew Roche)

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