Abuja: Suspected members of a radical Islamist sect carried out bomb attacks and shootings targeting the police headquarters and a mosque in two Nigerian cities, killing 17 people, police and media report said on Saturday.

The suspected Boko Haram assailants besieged the police headquarters in northeastern city of Gombe, killing 12 people, including officers, police said.
Through coordinated gun and bomb assaults, the attackers tried to break into a prison in a failed attempt to free the inmates.

It has accused the authorities of illegally holding many of their members in prisons and demanded their release.

In the second incident, at least five worshipers were gunned down inside a mosque on Friday evening in the country's second largest city Kano, a daily reported.

Boko Haram has been waging a bloody insurgency to install an Islamic government and Sharia rule in Nigeria.

It has carried out a wave of bomb attacks and shootings across the the country, including the January 20 multiple terror attacks in Kano that killed 185 people, including an Indian from Gujarat.

A suicide bomb attack by the group at the United Nations headquarters in Abuja in July last year killed 26 persons.

Last Saturday, suspected gunmen from the Boko Haram shot dead a cleric and local politician in northeastern city of Maiduguri.

Nigeria, with a population of 150-million, has large number of Muslim and Christian population. Muslims are predominant in the north of the country while Christians mostly live in south. 

(Agencies)