At least 23 people have been killed after suspected Boko Haram fighters attacked a town in northeastern Nigeria, a hospital official has said.
Hospital officials said on Saturday that the fighters had wreaked havoc two days before, destroying several buildings in a town regarded as a hotbed for Boko Haram activity.
A nurse at the Potiskum general hospital spoke of 20 bodies being brought to the morgue, while residents said three bodies were buried by their families following explosions and shootings in the restive city on Thursday.
“We now have a total of 20 bodies brought in yesterday from the attacks of the previous night. Initially 11 bodies were brought and nine more were received later,” a nurse, who asked not to be named, told the AFP news agency.
“Most of them have gunshot wounds but some had their throat slit. The bodies included that of a police sergeant and a prison warder,” he said.
Residents said the toll could be higher as some family members had taken some bodies from the streets for burial.
Explosions and gunfire shook Potiskum on Thursday, with residents reporting that several schools and a government building were burnt.
In the city of Maiduguri, also in the northeast and a base of Boko Haram, petrol bombs exploded, leading to a fire that burned down 11 roadside shops, the military said in a statement.
One civilian was also shot dead and four others were wounded, it said.
Boko Haram arrest
Meanwhile, in a separate development, Nigeria’s military said soldiers had arrested a member of Boko Haram at a prominent senator’s home on Friday.
Colonel Sagir Musa, a military spokesman, issued a statement on Friday saying soldiers caught Shuaibu Muhammed Bama “in a serving senator’s home”.
The only senator who has a home in the area where Bama was arrested is Senator Ahmed Zanna of Nigeria’s National Assembly.
Zanna and his officials in his office could not be immediately reached for comment Saturday morning.
The arrest fuels further speculation of high ranking officials being in league with Boko Haram.
Northeastern Nigeria has been the region hardest hit by Boko Haram, though its attacks have also spread to other areas of the north and centre.
The group has claimed to be seeking an Islamic state in Nigeria, though its demands have repeatedly shifted.
Boko Haram is believed to include a number of factions in addition to imitators and criminal groups who carry out violence under the guise of the group.