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Suicide bombing of Nigeria policestation kills 4


MAIDUGURI, Nigeria (Reuters) - A
suicide bomber drove a car packed
with explosives into the entrance of
the police headquarters of northeast
Nigeria's Borno state on Friday, killing
four people, including a policeman, and wounding seven, the police
commissioner said. There was no immediate claim of
responsibility, but the Islamist sect
Boko Haram has been blamed for
hundreds of bomb and gun attacks
on security forces and civilians over
the past two years, mostly in Borno state. Borno police commissioner Bala
Hassan told Reuters by phone from
the city of Maiduguri that one
policeman and three civilians were
killed, and seven police officers were
wounded by the car bomber. "He was driving a Toyota Camry,
which he tried to drive right into the
station. When he couldn't do this, he
detonated the bomb," Hassan said. He
declined to speculate on who was
behind the attack. Witnesses said they suspected the
death toll could be higher. "Many people, mostly members of the
police, which includes men and
women, were killed in the explosion,"
witness Ali Alhaji said. Earlier, a police officer at the scene,
splattered with blood, told Reuters
five police vans had been loaded with
the dead. He could not be named
because he was not authorized to
speak. Official police casualty tolls from
insurgent attacks on them are
frequently much lower than witness
estimates. Police stations are a favorite target for
the insurgency, which flared up partly
in response to police brutality against
its members, including its founder
Mohammed Yusuf, killed in police
custody during a crackdown in 2009. A coordinated Boko Haram strike on
multiple police stations in north
Nigeria's main city of Kano in January
killed 186 people, most of them
civilians. From being a reclusive clerical
movement opposed to Western
education last decade, Boko Haram
has radicalized and mushroomed to
become the main security threat
facing Africa's top energy producer, and has linked up with other Islamist
groups in the region such as al
Qaeda's north African wing. It is based far from oil producing
facilities in the south, although its
fighters have successfully targeted
the capital Abuja, in the middle of the
country, a handful of times. Nigerian forces shot dead 16
suspected militants in a fire fight with
Islamist sect Boko Haram on Tuesday,
the military said, the sort of move
which sometimes provokes a
retaliation from the Islamists. Earlier on Friday, a roadside bomb
killed one person in downtown
Maiduguri, Hassan said. (Writing by Tim Cocks; Editing by
Michael Roddy)