At least 150 people were killed in a series of gun and bomb attacks in northern Nigeria on Saturday, the Islamist Boko Haram sect claimed. The radical Islamic sect Boko Haram claimed responsibility for the attacks, which included bombing a government building and gunning down over 63 people in the northern city of Damaturu, while another suicide attack in neighbouring Maiduguri town left for dead. A spokesman for Boko Haram said the group is responsible for the series of overnight attacks. President Goodluck Jonathan condemned the assaults which officials said included at least five suicide bomb blasts and “directed security agencies to ensure the arrest of perpetrators of these heinous acts,” said a statement from his spokesman Reuben Abati. As corpses piled up in the morgue, a rescue agency official told AFP the body count stood at 150. The attackers bombed their targets then took on the security forces in gun battles in Damaturu. Residents said gunfire rang out for several hours across the city after the explosions. “It was a suicide bomb attack at one of our buildings. The attacker came in a Honda CRV and rammed into the building and explosives exploded,” Lawal told AFP. A journalist described scenes of chaos and destruction in Damaturu. “In fact, Damaturu is looking just like Libya… burnt cars and buildings.” In a mainly Christian neighbourhood of Damaturu called Jerusalem, six churches were bombed in addition to a police station. Militants from Boko Haram, whose name means “Western Education Is Sin” in the regional Hausa language, have in the past targeted police and military, community and religious leaders, as well as politicians. The Boko Haram sect has been responsible for a number of sectarian attacks in the recent past in northern Nigeria, posing a big challenge to the nation's security agencies. The sect, which wants to see the establishment of an Islamic state in northern Nigeria, staged an uprising which was brutally put down by security forces in 2009.
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