Source: AFP/Gulf Times
Nigerian troops clashed with suspected members of Islamist group Boko Haram in a raid on an alleged hideout, leaving 11 dead, including a soldier and policeman, an official and local media said yesterday.
The clash occurred Saturday in the Okene district of Kogi state, located in central Nigeria, after soldiers and police sought to raid the alleged hideout, said Jacob Edi, a spokesman for the state governor.
“There were some skirmishes between some hoodlums and the military,” Edi told AFP. “There are unconfirmed reports that some of them may be Boko Haram … A military person was confirmed dead and a (secret police) person.”
He could not say how many of the assailants were killed, though local media reported nine were dead and identified them as suspected Boko Haram members. Authorities were still searching for those who escaped, he said.
Edi said the raid occurred because soldiers wanted to defuse explosives said to be at the building, though local media gave varying accounts.
One report said the raid followed the discovery last week of an alleged bomb-making factory in another town in Kogi.
Military and secret police officials did not respond to requests for comment.
Separately, suspected Boko Haram members attacked three police stations in northeastern Nigeria on Saturday, burning two of them down in the latest of scores of such assaults, police said.
It was not yet clear if there were casualties in the attacks in Yobe state, which has been repeatedly hit by violence blamed on Boko Haram.
The attacks occurred in the towns of Potiskum and Ningere, Yobe state police spokesman Gbadegesin Toyin told AFP.
“They came in a very large number with explosives and other offensive weapons,” Toyin said of the attackers he said were from Boko Haram.
He said the gunmen first attacked a regional police station in Potiskum, but policemen repelled the attack and forced them to retreat.
“The attackers then moved to a police outpost on the outskirts of the town, which they subdued with explosives, and burnt it down,” Toyin said.
They then drove to the town of Ningere, some 20km away, and attacked another regional police station, setting it on fire after a shootout with the police, he said.
“We can’t speak of casualties because of the darkness and the fire burning at the police station, which make it difficult to ascertain those affected in the attacks,” Toyin said.
Boko Haram has carried out scores of attacks, mainly in northern Nigeria, as part of its increasingly deadly insurgency. A bid to hold indirect talks between the government and the Islamist group earlier in March appears to have collapsed.