Gun battle, explosions erupt in northern Nigeria

December 23, 2011 00:52


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KANO, Nigeria - A sustained gun battle broke out between Nigerian security forces and suspected Islamist militants in the northern city of Damaturu on Thursday, and several explosions were heard, witnesses and the local police commissioner said.

Confrontations between security forces and the violent Boko Haram sect have become increasingly frequent in the past couple of weeks, as the north's simmering conflict escalates, though the insurgency remains low level and sporadic.

Nigerian police arrested 14 suspected members of Boko Haram and seized explosives after a gun battle left four militants and three policemen dead in the city of Kano over the weekend.

Yobe state police commissioner Lawan Tanko said fighting broke out after his men raided a suspected Boko Haram hideout.

"There was exchange of gunfire between my men and members of Boko Haram this evening and several bomb blasts. We attacked them in their hideout outside the state capital city centre," he told Reuters by telephone.

"I know we killed some of them. I cannot say the number because it is night. But the situation is under control."

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