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Insurgents in deadly rampage in northeast Nigeria town

19 September 2013 | Nigeria
A Nigerian policeman patrols with Nigerian soldiers in the north of Borno state on June 5, 2013 near Maiduguri.  By Quentin Leboucher (AFP/File)
A Nigerian policeman patrols with Nigerian soldiers in the north of Borno state on June 5, 2013 near Maiduguri. By Quentin Leboucher (AFP/File)

KANO, Nigeria (AFP) - Islamist insurgents have rampaged through a town in northeastern Nigeria with heavy weapons, setting public buildings on fire and killing a soldier and the wife of a senior policeman, authorities said Thursday.

The attack on Wednesday was the latest carnage to hit the region, which has seen an upsurge in violence in recent days linked to a military offensive as well as attacks by Islamist extremist group Boko Haram.

Armed with Kalashnikovs, rocket launchers and homemade bombs, the Islamists stormed Yadi Buni in Yobe state around 10:00 pm, leading to a shootout with troops in which a soldier was killed, state police commissioner Sanusi Rufa'i said.

They set fire to a makeshift police station, the fire service, a local education office and the home of the divisional police head in the town, whose wife was burnt to death inside, Rufa'i said.

"Buni Yadi was attacked last night by Boko Haram insurgents," he said. "A soldier was killed in a shootout and the wife of the (divisional police chief) was burnt to death in her home."

Telecom towers in the town were also burnt by the Islamists, the police commissioner said.

It was the second time Buni Yadi was attacked by Boko Haram in as many months.

Scores of people have been left dead in recent days from military raids or Boko Haram attacks.

The military claimed on Wednesday that a strike on a Boko Haram camp in the northeast last week left about 150 Islamists and 16 soldiers dead, amid reports of dozens of troops killed.

On Tuesday night, suspected Boko Haram members dressed as soldiers set up checkpoints in the Benishiek area, killing an unclear number of people and burning some 50 buildings.

Some residents spoke of around 20 people or more killed in Tuesday's violence, but there has been no official death toll.

The attacks as well as claims and counterclaims regarding last week's violence again raised questions over a four-month-old military offensive seeking to end a years-long insurgency by Boko Haram.

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