Nigeria Attacks Leave 67 Dead
Islamist sect claims responsibility
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 5, 2011 3:23 PM CDT
Police officers armed with AK-47 rifles stand guard at sandbagged bunkers along a major road in Nigeria.   (AP Photo/Sunday Alamba)

(Newser) – An Islamist sect is claiming responsibility for bomb blasts and gun battles that claimed at least 67 lives in northern Nigeria yesterday, AFP reports. Suicide bombers and gunmen attacked churches, an army base, and police stations, leaving scenes of devastation across four towns. The town of "Damaturu is looking just like Libya ... burnt cars and buildings," says one reporter. "The whole city is traumatized."

Now stricken relatives are flocking to Damaturu's government hospital in search of friends and family members. The group claiming responsibility, Boko Haram—or "Western Education Is Sin"—has targeted politicians, police, military, and religious and community leaders before. Nigeria's 160 million people are split roughly down the middle between Muslims and Christians, in the north and south, respectively. Regions where they overlap are prone to violence.