|A bomb attack carried out by Boko Haram suspects killed 185 people in the Nigerian city of Kano in January [Reuters]|
At least 19 people have been killed after suspected Boko Haram gunmen carried out several attacks in the Nigerian cities of Gombe and Kano, authorities say.
Orubebe Ghandi Ebikeme, the local police commissioner in Gombe, said that the police headquarters in the provincial capital had been targetted by an attack late on Friday evening, after authorities had repelled an earlier attack on a prison.
At least 14 people died in the Gombe attacks, with at least five others wounded.
“I have seen at least 14 burnt bodies in and around the police station,” a witness in Gombe said, on condition of anonymity.
He said 10 of the bodies were inside the police building, while four others were inside the shell of a burned out car on a road between the police station and the prison.
The commissioner said there had been no arrests made and no one had immediately claimed responsibility for the attack.
Boko Haram, whose name means “Western education is forbidden”, has targeted state offices and Christians in Gombe as part of increased attacks in its campaign to implement strict Sharia law in Nigeria.
Gombe was put under lockdown, with no residents allowed in public, after the gun and bomb assaults on the facilities. Witnesses said the gunmen were attempting to free the inmates at the prison, but failed to do so.
Residents said the police station had been completely burned to the ground, while the prison was intact.
Boko Haram has been responsible of a series of deadly attacks and assassinations across northern Nigeria in the past 17 months.
According to an Associated Press count, in 2012 alone, Boko Haram has been blamed for killing at least 310 people.
Five killed in Kano
In a separate incident on Friday, suspected Boko Haram members shot dead five Muslim worshippers at a mosque in the northern Nigerian city of Kano.
Gunmen on motorcycles entered the mosque in the Tudun Maliki area of the northern city during evening prayers on Friday and opened fire, killing five people, including the head of a state-funded local vigilante group, a police spokesman said.
Local witnesses blamed Boko Haram, saying the vigilante chief was their chief target.
“It is clear the attack was carried out by Boko Haram, Sule Kwaram (the vigilante head) was their primary target,” said witness, Baffa Hayatu.
Local vigilantes have joined the special security unit set up to curb Boko Haram attacks in Kano following the January 20 deadly attacks in which 185 people died.