Saturday, November 5, 2011

Northeast Nigeria militant attacks kill at least 65

5 November 2011

KANO, Nigeria (Reuters) - At least 65 people were killed in the northeast Nigerian city of Damaturu, an aid agency said Saturday, after Islamist insurgents bombed churches, mosques and police stations and fought hours of gun battles with police.

The Boko Haram militant sect claimed responsibility for the attacks, one of the worst days of violence since it launched its insurgency two years ago in what it says is a campaign to impose Islamic law in Africa's most populous country.

Witnesses said dozens of bodies were piled up in morgues in the city, which was all but deserted Saturday after Friday's raids.

"This place was like a war zone last night. There is no single policeman on the street now. The attacks destroyed mosques and churches, I have seen many injured persons in the hospital," said local Damaturu artisan Benard Ogbeifun.

"There were dozens of dead bodies, and no vehicles on the road. I'm staying in my shop and praying."

In an interview with the Abuja-based Daily Trust, Boko Haram's spokesman Abu Qaqa claimed responsibility for the strikes and said "more attacks are on the way," the paper reported in its Saturday online edition.

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