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101 dead in sectarian clashes in Nigeria

Abuja: Atleast 101 people were killed in last three days in sectarian clashes and gun battles between soldiers and insurgents in two Nigerian cities of Damaturu and Kaduna after suicide bombers attacked three churches on Sunday.

In Kaduna city, Christians retaliated the bombing allegedly carried out by suspected members of Islamic fundamentalist sect, Boko Haram by burning down mosques and killing Muslims.

Over 40 persons including six security personnel were today killed in a gun battle between soldiers and insurgents in Damaturu town, the capital of Nigeria`s northern state of Yobe.

State Police spokesman Patrick Egbuniwe told PTI on phone that 34 of those who were killed were members of the Boko Haram. However, another sources claimed that at the Sani Abatcha Hospital Damaturu, the corpses of eight policemen and three soldiers were brought in.

The governments of the two states of Yobe and Kaduna have declared 24 hours curfew to forestall further deadly confrontation. Civilians faced acute scarcity of food and water after being trapped indoors.

In Kaduna, where the post-suicide attack left more than 61 people dead with several others injured, many people sneaking to the nearby ATM counters were disappointed as the machines were not dispensing cash.

Meanwhile, the country`s top security chiefs, including the chief of Defence Staff Air Marshal Oluseyi Peturin have headed to the conflict zones to have a first-hand assessment, assuring the civilians that normalcy will return to the state immediately.

In another city of Maiduguri where the militants have their base, the Joint Task Force (JTF), a military unit meant to restore order in the area, alerted the residents of the plan of the dreaded Islamic terrorist group, Boko Haram to engage in series of suicide bombing.

Boko Haram, a radical sect has been waging war to install an Islamic government and Sharia rule in Africa`s largest oil producer.

The group`s insurgency has been growing in Nigeria and an attack in the northern city of Kano with multiple bombings and gun shots killed no fewer than 185 persons on January 20.

A suicide bomb attack by the group at the United Nations headquarters in Abuja in July last year killed 26 persons. The 150-million Nigeria has both Muslim and Christian population, with Muslims predominant in the north while Christians mostly live in the South.

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