Gunmen shot dead three people, including a girl, in a series of attacks in three Nigerian cities despite a state of emergency at four restive states.

Assailants gunned down two local township leaders and a teenage girl in seemingly related attacks on Wednesday in Maiduguri, Damaturu and Jigawa in defiance of the emergency rule, police said.

The killings, suspected to have been carried out by members of the Islamic sect Boko Haram, comes days after President Goodluck Jonathan declared a state of emergency in parts of the country hard hit by the sect.

“The Nigeria Police Force will not tolerate discriminatory and unpatriotic acts of threat and criminality against innocent, peace-loving and law-abiding citizens irrespective of their tribe, creed, religion and location,” Inspector General Hafiz Ringim said.

Nigeria is one united and indivisible entity where citizens are at liberty to reside where they desire and practise whatever faith, he said.

Boko Haram has in recent times raised fears of religious conflict in the country following the Christmas bombings that killed close to 50 people.

The sect was also behind the August suicide bombing of U.N. headquarters in Abuja that left 25 dead.

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