Multiple explosions and gunfire have rocked the Nigerian city of Kano, with residents reporting an immigration office and several police stations targeted.
A witness told Al Jazeera that he had seen at least seven dead bodies, including five immigration officers and two civilians. Authorities have not confirmed reports of casualties.
An AFP journalist heard what sounded to be about 20 explosions coming from two neighbourhoods in the city, the largest in Nigeria’s mainly Muslim north. Smoke could also been seen coming from the areas.
Boko Haram has claimed responsibility for the attack, the Associated Press reported.
Ahmad Idris, Al Jazeera’s correspondent in Abuja, said reports suggested at least eight police stations were targeted in addition to the zonal police headquarters.
“Residents said there was sound of gunfire echoing in some parts of the city,” he said. “It’s a confused situation in Kano, with some residents saying prisoners are being freed from police stations.”
A resident near the immigration office said: “At the moment, there is a heavy shootout between the immigration personnel and the police with the attackers, and bombs explode in between.”
He said it appeared that a passport office of the immigration service was targeted in the Marhaba area.
“Everybody is running for his life. It’s chaotic,” he said.
Scores of bomb blasts in Nigeria’s north have been blamed on the radical Islamist group Boko Haram.
President Goodluck Jonathan declared a state of emergency in parts of four states on December 31, hard hit by attacks blamed on Boko Haram.
Kano is not included in the state of emergency, and has not been previously hit by any of recent major attacks. Most of the attacks have occurred in the country’s northeast.
Nigeria, Africa’s most populous nation and largest oil producer, is roughly divided between a mainly Muslim north and predominately Christian south.
Story from Aljazeera.com