October 17, 2011 / 10:29 AM / 8 years ago

Nigerian lawmaker shot dead, police suspect sect

MAIDUGURI, Nigeria (Reuters) - Suspected members of an Islamist sect shot dead a Nigerian lawmaker, police said on Monday, the latest in a string of assassinations in the country’s remote northeast.

Gunmen on Sunday shot Modu Bintube at his home in Maiduguri, the capital of Borno State, in the northeast corner of Nigeria near the borders with Cameroon, Niger and Chad.

“The member was shot dead in front of his house on Sunday evening. We are combing the whole area in search of his killers,” a spokesman for a joint task force said.

Boko Haram, whose name means “Western education is forbidden”, has been blamed by police for near daily shootings and attacks with home made explosives around Maiduguri in recent months, often targeting officials.

The sect wants Islamic law more widely applied across Nigeria and has spread throughout the north and heightened the sophistication of its attacks in recent months.

Foreign and Nigerian officials believe the sect has been strengthening ties with al Qaeda’s North African wing.

It claimed responsibility for Nigeria’s first known suicide bombing in August, when a car full of explosives was rammed into U.N. headquarters in the capital Abuja, tearing off the side of the building and killing 23 people.

A bomb explosion on Sunday morning killed at least three people at a police base in Gombe state, which neighbours Borno. The police have said they suspect Boko Haram.

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