The attack by a group of about 10 gunmen occurred at 6 p.m. yesterday in Alkaleri, a town in the northern state of Bauchi, said Mua’zu Haruna, a local government official. The gunmen were seen distributing money from the banks to local people, saying they had come to “help the poor ones,” Haruna said.
Nigerian authorities blame a radical Islamic sect known as Boko Haram for a series of attacks on government officials and security forces in the north. The group, modeled after Afghanistan’s Taliban, claimed responsibility for a June 16 blast at the national police headquarters in the capital, Abuja, which killed at least five people and injured 11.
Africa’s top oil producer and most populous country is split between a mainly Muslim north and a predominantly Christian south. More than 14,000 people died in ethnic and religious clashes in the West African nation between 1999 and 2009, according to Brussels-based International Crisis Group.