Gunmen kill five in Nigerian Islamist stronghold

Fri Dec 28, 2012 12:05pm EST
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MAIDUGURI, Nigeria (Reuters) - Gunmen killed five people in Nigeria on Friday, including a policeman, on the edge of the town of Maiduguri, a long-time stronghold of Islamist sect Boko Haram, the military said.

Boko Haram, which is loosely based on the Afghan Taliban, has killed hundreds this year in a campaign to impose sharia, Islamic law, in Nigeria, a country of more than 160 million split roughly equally between Christians and Muslims.

The sect is the biggest threat to stability in Africa's biggest oil exporter.

"Five people have been killed by unidentified gunmen in Musari ... in the early hours," Sagir Musa, a spokesman for the military Joint Task Force (JTF), told Reuters.

"The JTF response team that went to the area between 1-3 a.m arrested three of the gunmen and recovered weapons."

Maiduguri, in the far northeast of Africa's most populous nation, has been a hotbed of violence, directed mostly at the security forces, since an uprising by Boko Haram in 2009.

Seven people were murdered by unidentified attackers on Wednesday in Maiduguri, the police said.

The army also said soldiers had killed five "suspected terrorists" and destroyed a bomb-making factory on Thursday in the northern city of Kaduna, where Boko Haram is active.

on Tuesday, gunmen killed six people at a church in the northeast town of Potiskum, the third year running that Christmas services have come under deadly attack.   Continued...