Africa

Nigeria Islamist militants Boko Haram 'attack Yobe'

Burnt out vehicles in a church compound after the attack in Damaturu, north-east Nigeria, 8 November 2011 Image copyright Reuters
Image caption The Boko Haram sect frequently attacks targets in Yobe, including a church compound on 4 November

Gunmen believed to be members of the Nigerian militant Islamist sect Boko Haram have attacked several targets in the country's Yobe state, reports say.

Explosives were thrown at a police station and a bank in the town of Geidam, 100 miles (160km) from the state capital, Damaturu.

Geidam is the hometown of Yobe state governor Ibrahim Geidam.

Witnesses said people were trapped in their homes during the attack. It was unclear whether there were casualties.

State police commissioner Sulaiman Lawal confirmed the city was under attack on Saturday night but did not provide any further details, the Associated Press reports.

The men, armed with Kalashnikov rifles according to Agence France Presse, fired into the air before making off with money taken from the vaults of the bank.

"The attackers who are from all indications members of Boko Haram came in a large number and attacked the police station with explosives and gunshots and burnt it down", one resident, Abba Kashim, told the news agency by phone from the town.

Another resident, Umar Maina, told AFP there had been "incessant gunshots" and that a bar had also been attacked.

He said the men were on their way to the town's prison.

Earlier this month Boko Haram carried out an attack in Damaturu which killed more than 100 people.

In August it bombed the UN headquarters in Abuja, killing 24 people.

Boko Haram means "Western education is forbidden". Parts of the group say they want Sharia, Islamic law, more widely applied across Nigeria, but correspondents say most factions are focused on local issues.

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