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Gunmen toss explosives at bar in latest Nigerian violence

By AFP

KANO, Nigeria (AFP) - Attackers threw explosives and fired shots at an open-air bar in northeastern Nigeria, residents said Thursday, but no one was reported hurt amid a wave of violence blamed on Islamists.

The attack occurred in the city of Gombe on Wednesday night and comes after a series of bombings on Christmas blamed on Islamist group Boko Haram which killed at least 40 people and sparked fears of renewed sectarian violence.

"Some unknown gunmen threw explosives and fired shots into the beer garden Wednesday night. No one was hurt in the attack," resident Buhari Ali told AFP.

"The tavern was attacked by some gunmen. They threw some bombs and opened fire on the tavern. No injuries or deaths were recorded," said another resident, Silas Billiri.

Police did not comment on the attack. Nigeria's northeast has been hit by scores of bomb blasts and shootings blamed on Boko Haram, which has targeted such bars on numerous occasions.

The Islamist group also claimed responsibility for Christmas Day bombings that killed 40 people in several towns -- the deadliest an explosion outside a Catholic church near the capital Abuja.

Amid fears of reprisal attacks by Christians, unknown attackers late Tuesday threw a bomb into an Arabic school in Nigeria's mainly Christian southern town of Sapele, wounding six children and an adult.

Violence had been raging even in the days before the Christmas bombings, especially in the northeastern cities of Damaturu, Potiskum and Maiduguri. Most of the incidents attributed to Boko Haram have occurred in the northeast.

Nigeria is Africa's most populous nation with 160 million people, roughly divided between a mainly Muslim north and predominantly Christian south.