Friday 19 October 2012

Many killed, houses burnt as JTF, trerroists battle

KANO (AFP) – Attacks and gun battles between suspected Islamists and security forces in a northeastern town have killed several people and destroyed buildings, residents and authorities said Friday, while unrest also hit another city.
Explosions and gunfire shook the city of Potiskum, sparking panic and chaos, from late Thursday, residents and security forces said. Residents reported several dead as well as schools and a government building burnt.
In the city of Maiduguri, also in the northeast and the base of Islamist extremist group Boko Haram, gunfire and a couple explosions could be heard on Friday, an AFP correspondent said. But details were not immediately clear.
Police said they were seeking to restore calm in Potiskum and clear unexploded bombs on Friday, while some of the ordnance was still detonating.
“There are so many bombs here and there, and I can’t give you the casualty figure now, because our men are still in the field to restore calm,” said Patrick Egbuniwe, police commissioner for Yobe state, where Potiskum is located.
A military source said some houses had been destroyed with home-made bombs and a security checkpoint was attacked, but he also could not give a death toll yet. He said Boko Haram was suspected to be behind the violence.
“I cannot ascertain as of now how many people were killed, apart from the one (suspect) that I know who was shot at the checkpoint,” the military source told AFP.
Residents of the city, which has been repeatedly hit by Boko Haram, described heavy explosions and gunfire, with Potiskum under military lockdown on Friday morning as security forces sought to track down the attackers.
Soldiers have often responded brutally to attacks in northeastern Nigeria and have been accused of killing civilians and burning homes in the past.

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