By Garba Mohammed
KADUNA, Nigeria (Reuters) - A suspected suicide bomber disguised in military uniform was killed on Tuesday when his car bomb exploded under fire from soldiers outside a military base in the northern Nigerian city of Kaduna, the army said.
It was the latest in a series of attacks on military and other targets to have hit northern regions of Africa's most populous nation in the past months.
"The soldiers repelled the attack and were able to stop what will have been a suicide bombing. However, after firing (at) the suicide bomber who tried to force his way, the bomb exploded and shattered the glasses that adorn the frontage of the headquarters. The suicide bomber was the only casualty," the statement signed by Raphael Isa, director of Nigerian army public relations, said.
Radical Islamist sect Boko Haram has killed hundreds this year in bomb and gun attacks in northern Nigeria. Kano, around 200 km (120 miles) north of Kaduna, was the scene of the deadliest attack by the sect, in which 186 people were killed last month.
The military said it killed eight Boko Haram members in a raid on one of the sect's Kano camps in the early hours of Tuesday. A gun battle raged for over four hours, they said.
"We also recovered 10 AK-47s (rifles), 106 live ammunitions, 26 gun magazines and seven bags of fertilizer in the hide out," Kano police commissioner Ibrahim Idris told Reuters.
Boko Haram is waging a low level insurgency against the government and says it wants to impose sharia law across the country of 160 million people split evenly between Muslims and Christians.
The sect has become President Goodluck Jonathan's biggest security headache and a major distraction from plans to reform Africa's second biggest economy, as he has come under increasing fire for failing to quell the insurgency in the north.
The past three months have seen a surge in violence by the sect, a movement loosely modeled on Afghanistan's Taliban whose name means "Western education is sinful."
Nigerian secret service sources said they arrested the purported spokesman for Islamist militant sect Boko Haram Abu Qaqa last week, although a man claiming to be him telephoned journalists from the sect's heartland of Maiduguri to deny it.
In an interview with Reuters on January 26, Jonathan challenged Boko Haram militants to come out of the shadows and identify themselves as a basis for talks, an offer they have yet to take up.
(Reporting by Garba Mohammed in Kaduna and Mike Oboh in Kano; Additional reporting by Camillus Eboh in Abuja; Writing by Joe Brock; Editing by Giles Elgood)