Thursday, April 25, 2013

25 killed in crossfire between Nigeria military, gunmen in northeastern Yobe: police

DAMATURU, Nigeria, April 25 — A total of 25 people, including police and assailants, were killed on Thursday in a crossfire between military operatives and gunmen in Gashua Town of Bade local government area of northeast Nigeria’s Yobe State, according to local police authorities.

State police commissioner Sanusi Rufai confirmed the casualties figure to reporters, saying five policemen and 20 gunmen lost their lives during the gun duel which lasted for several hours.

He said two policemen also sustained injuries, while some of the attackers carted away more than 56,620 U.S. dollars (more than nine million naira) during the multiple attacks that extended to a commercial bank, military base and police station early Thursday.

According to Rufai, the gunmen had earlier seized the bank manager, forcing him to open the vault where the huge amount of money was being kept, hence carting it away together with Peugeot 406 and Toyota Corolla cars.

“Two guns, two locally made pistols, two long range rifles and 19 hand grenades and assorted ammunitions were, however, recovered from the gunmen,” he said, adding one of the gunmen was captured and now is investigated by the police.

The senior police officer said the same group had been using police and military uniforms to attack other areas in the restive state in recent times.

Xinhua had earlier reported on Thursday that Gashua Town was under siege by security operatives following an attack on a military location and police station by gunmen, quoting military spokesperson in the state, Lt. Eli Lazarus.

At least 185 people were confirmed dead in a similar crossfire between the military and assailants in neighboring Borno State last weekend.

Yobe and Borno states, both located in Nigeria’s northeastern region, are homes to a terrorist group which began to attack military bases as well as churches and media organizations in the northern part of the west African country since 2009.

----------Thomas Whittle, Xingua
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