Separate attacks in northeast Nigeria likely carried out by a radical Islamist sect killed at least seven police officers Sunday, witnesses said, the latest violence to shake the bloodied region.
The attacks focused around the city of Maiduguri, where the sect known as Boko Haram once had its main mosque. One attack struck the home of a former federal senator in the region, killing one officer, while other attacks killed four others, a police official said.
The official spoke on condition of anonymity as the information was not yet authorized to be released to journalists.
In the village of Mafa, about 40 kilometers (25 miles) away from Maiduguri, 20 gunmen suspected to belong to Boko Haram attacked a divisional police headquarters. The gunfire lasted for an hour, witnesses said.
Borno state police spokesman Samuel Tizhe said that at least two officers died in the attack. None of the assailants were arrested by officers after the attack, Tizhe said.
Boko Haram, whose named means "Western education is sacrilege" in the Hausa language of Nigeria's Muslim north, is waging an increasingly bloody sectarian fight against Nigeria's weak central government. The group's demands include freeing all its imprisoned members and enacting Shariah law across the multiethnic nation of more than 160 million people.
The sect, which speaks to journalists in teleconferences at times of its choosing, could not be immediately reached for comment Sunday night.
The violence in Maiduguri follows an attack Saturday in nearby Bauchi state where gunmen killed two police officers while robbing banks and bombing police stations.
Associated Press writer Shehu Saulawa in Bauchi, Nigeria contributed to this report.