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Red Cross: Gunmen, bombs kill 65 in Nigeria

From Christian Purefoy, CNN
updated 1:35 AM EDT, Sun November 6, 2011
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Gunmen attack a book shop in Potiskum, killing 2
  • In Damaturu, gunmen first attacked police offices before moving to churches, mosques
  • "It is a very bad scene," a Red Cross official says

Lagos, Nigeria (CNN) -- A series of bomb and gun attacks targeting police stations, mosques and churches left 65 people dead in northeastern Nigeria, the Red Cross said Saturday.

Attackers also left scores injured -- probably more than 100 -- in a three-hour rampage in the Yobe state city of Damaturu, according to Ibrahim Bulama of the Red Cross. Sixty-three people died.

"It is a very bad scene," he said.

Gunmen first attacked the police headquarters and the anti-terror office before moving to churches and mosques, he said. Most of the casualties were police officers.

In Potiskum, also located in Yobe state, gunmen attacked a book shop near the police station, killing two and injuring 5, the Red Cross said.

The Friday attacks came the same day suicide bombers suspected to belong to a militant Islamist group targeted a military base in nearby Maiduguri.

Three suicide bombers drove a stolen black SUV toward a Joint Task Force headquarters, but could not get through the gate, military spokesman Lt. Col. Hassan Mohammed said.

The blast damaged roofs and walls of the base.

Mohammed said two other simultaneous explosions took place at other military facilities. An unspecified number of Nigerian soldiers suffered injuries.

Saturday evening, a suicide bomber launched another attack in Maiduguri, Mohammed said. No casualties were reported except for the bomber.

He blamed the militant group Boko Haram for the attacks.

Loosely translated, the group's name means "Western education is sinful." It wants to establish a state based on Sharia, or Islamic law, in northern Nigeria.

The Red Cross official said Boko Haram is suspected in the Damaturu attack as well.

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