Islamic extremists kill five in northern Nigeria

A church was among the targets of Islamic militants who killed five people in attacks in the north-eastern Nigerian city of Maiduguri on Tuesday.

Two passers-by were killed when a bomb thrown at St Patrick’s church missed the target and landed back on the street where it detonated.

Several bombs were set off at police stations in Gwange and Dandal before the attackers were locked into a gun battle with police.

Police spokesman Lawal Abdullahi told Agence France-Presse there were seven explosions in all across the city, which lies in troubled Borno State.

He said three gunmen were killed in the shootout with police. Shots could be heard in the central Dandal area of the city as police sought to bring the situation under control.

The attackers are believed to be members of Boko Haram, a hardline Islamic sect that wants to see a strict application of Sharia law across Nigeria.

Since 2009, the group has used violence and deadly attacks on state and religious institutions in pursuit of its objectives.

On Monday, a member of Boko Haram shot dead a Wahabbi cleric who had been critical of the group in Biu, Borno State.

The group has claimed responsibility for attacks which killed 16 people following the inauguration of President Goodluck Jonathan.

Targets have included community leaders but also many Christians. Boko Haram was suspected to be behind attacks on churches in Maiduguri last Christmas.

Victims included the pastor of Victory Baptist Church and two men who were rehearsing for the church's carol service.