KANO, Nigeria (AFP) – Suspected Islamists razed a police station and killed 14 people, whose bodies were found burned, in an overnight raid in Nigeria’s northeastern city of Gombe, witnesses said Saturday.
The attackers also tried to break into a prison elsewhere in Gombe in an apparent bid to free the inmates, but were unsuccessful, witnesses further said.
Boko Haram Islamists, responsible for a wave of recent raids in northern and central Nigeria, have repeatedly claimed its members are being illegally held in state prisons and have demanded their release.
Many of Boko Haram’s recent attacks have targeted the police.
“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 he counted 10 bodies inside the police building, adding the victims could be policemen, while four others were found dead in a burned car outside the station.
“At a roundabout between the police station and the prison stood a car that was burned down with all its four occupants. It’s not clear who they were,” the witness added.
Locals said the police station was completely burnt down in the attack.
Another resident, Babandi Ali, said “the police station has been razed and there are burned bodies inside, but I couldn’t confirm how many. However there is a burned car at the roundabout with four people burnt inside.”
A jail guard told AFP Friday night that prison officers battled Boko Haram gunmen who tried to gain entry to the prison in an apparent bid to free group members being held there.
“The prison is intact,” a resident who lives nearby said.
The sect has previously targeted Christian worshippers in Gombe.