At least 150 people were killed and several injured after a series of overnight shootings and bombings ripped through northeast Nigeria, officials and rescue workers said.
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 four dead.
The group also attacked churches, mosques and some other public places with bombs even as they engaged the police in a prolonged gun duel, eye witnesses and locals said.
A spokesman for Boko Haram said the group is responsible for the series of overnight attacks.
An initial report by the Red Cross had put the toll to 67 but rescue agency officials said they counted up to 150 bodies at a Mortuary and various places in the cities.
The casualties in the Damaturu and Maiduguri attacks include seven policemen and two soldiers while 16 persons were injured, they said.
President Goodluck Jonathan condemned the deadly attacks, said a statement from his spokesman Reuben Abati.
“These types of killings are not acceptable and the President is doing everything possible to stop them and security agencies have been mandated to stop such dastardly attacks on the citizens,” Abati said.
The string of attacks came two days ahead of the annual Muslim celebration of Eid al—Adha, or the Feast of Sacrifice.
Police and security officials have been put on high alert throughout the country.
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 group was also behind the bombing of United Nations’ headquarters in the capital on August 26 which killed 23 people and injured over 70.