Gunmen from a radical Muslim sect raided a town in northern Nigeria early Sunday morning, bombing police stations and robbing banks in an attack that killed at least six people, authorities said.
The attack in Azare in Bauchi state mirrored other recent attacks by the sect known as Boko Haram, showing their ability to strike at will in Nigeria's Muslim north. The attack also shows the group remains focused on raising cash for future attacks in the oil-rich nation.
Sect members bombed two police stations in the city and robbed local branches for bank chains Guaranty Trust Bank PLC and Intercontinental Bank PLC, Bauchi police commissioner Ikechukwu Aduba said. One police officer, one soldier and four civilians were killed during the five-hour attack, he said.
"We did not make any arrest, as investigations are still being carried out," Aduba said.
Aduba blamed Boko Haram for the attack, saying the assault Sunday mirrored attacks its members have carried out in recent weeks. The group has launched a series of bombings against Nigeria's weak central government over the last year in its campaign to implement strict Shariah law across the nation of more than 160 million people home to both Christians and Muslims.
Boko Haram claimed responsibility for a Nov. 4 attack on Damaturu, Yobe state's capital, that killed more than 100 people. The group also claimed the Aug. 24 suicide car bombing of the UN headquarters in Nigeria's capital that killed 24 people and wounded 116 others.
Little is known about the sources of Boko Haram's support, though its members recently began carrying out a wave of bank robberies in the north. Police stations have also been bombed and officers killed.
Boko Haram has splintered into three factions, with one wing increasingly willing to kill as it maintains contact with terror groups in North Africa and Somalia, diplomats and security sources say.
The sect is responsible for at least 387 killings in Nigeria this year alone, according to an AP count.