Nigeria sect kills 12 in police station attack

Associated Press/February 25, 2012

Gombe, Nigeria -- An attack on a police station in northeastern Nigeria killed at least 12 people and wounded five others, authorities said Saturday, amid a growing wave of attacks by a radical Islamist sect.

The assault late Friday on the capital of Gombe state targeted a divisional police headquarters and a federal prison, but no prisoners were freed, local Police Commissioner Orubebe Ghandi Ebikeme said.

Frightened residents under a 24-hour curfew said the area took heavy damage during the fighting.

Boko Haram, whose name means "Western education is sacrilege" in the local Hausa language, is carrying out increasingly sophisticated and bloody attacks in its campaign to implement Shariah law and avenge Muslim killings in Nigeria, a multiethnic nation of more than 160 million.

A report Saturday from The New York Times described Boko Haram as deeply enmeshed in the fabric of life in Nigeria's second-largest city, Kano. The group is regarded with a mix of fear and sympathy among the millions of impoverished people there.

Since 2009, it has killed more than 900 people, Human Rights Watch says. Yet on the streets of Kano, the government is more readily denounced than the militants. Anger at the pervasive squalor, not at the recent violence, dominates. The Nigerian state is seen as a purveyor of inequality.

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