Suicide blast kills two at Nigeria police HQ
6/8/2012 4:20:00 PM -
KANO, Nigeria (AFP) - A suicide blast outside police headquarters in the restive Nigerian city of Maiduguri on Friday killed at least two policemen and wounded others, authorities and a witness said.
"A suicide bomber tried to force his way into the police headquarters... however he rammed the car into sand-filled drums outside headquarters and his car exploded," a police source said.
"We have some casualties, but we're trying to sort out the extent of fatalities and the injured." A witness reported seeing the bodies of two policemen.
Another witness said he saw five wounded policemen and what appeared to be an injured pregnant woman being taken away to hospital.
The state police commissioner confirmed the explosion, but declined to provide further details, saying he was at the hospital where wounded had been taken.
The northeastern city of Maiduguri has been at the centre of Islamist group Boko Haram's insurgency, which has killed more than 1,000 people since mid-2009. The group's mosque and headquarters were located in Maiduguri until they were destroyed in a 2009 military assault.
In August, a suicide bomber sought to attack the same building -- police headquarters for Borno state -- but he was shot dead by authorities.
Security has been extremely tight in the area in recent months, including checkpoints and road traffic restrictions. A special military task force has put hard-hit areas of the city in lockdown.
The city has been hit by repeated bombings and shootings, with security forces often targeted. Thousands of residents have fled the city amid the spiralling violence.
On Tuesday, Nigerian soldiers killed at least 16 militants when they moved into an area of Maiduguri where Boko Haram members were believed to be hiding. Gunfire and blasts rocked the area for several hours.
Boko Haram's attacks have grown increasingly sophisticated and have affected a wider geographical area, spreading from their base in the northeast across the wider north and down to the capital Abuja, in the centre of the country.
It claimed responsibility for a suicide bombing of UN headquarters in Abuja in August which killed at least 25 people as well as a suicide attack on the Abuja office of one of the country's most prominent newspapers.
The group has continually widened its targets, which have included security forces, churches and police headquarters in the capital.
Nigeria, Africa's most populous nation and largest oil producer, is roughly divided between a mainly Muslim north and predominantly Christian south.