, Nigeria, Mar 31 – Soldiers raided a suspected hideout for Islamist extremist group Boko Haram in northern Nigeria’s largest city of Kano on Sunday, sparking a clash that left 15 people dead, the military said.
The military claimed that those killed included 14 Islamists and one soldier, while alleging the extremists were planning an Easter day attack in the city.
Residents reported hearing gunfire and explosions early on Sunday as soldiers battled the Islamists.
“In the raid, 14 terrorists were killed and their commander was arrested,” Army Brigadier-General Ilyasu Abba told reporters.
“We lost one soldier in the encounter and one other was badly injured.”
There was however no independent confirmation of those details. Casualty information from Nigeria’s military has often been unreliable, with the army under pressure to show progress in the fight against Boko Haram.
The military claimed to have recovered weapons, including a car loaded with explosives which Abba said was “primed for attack against Easter here in Kano.”
The hideout, which comprised two attached flats, was destroyed by a bulldozer on the orders of Abba, as with previous hideouts.
Nigeria has in the past seen major attacks on Christian holidays blamed on Boko Haram.
A bombing in the northern city of Kaduna on Easter last year killed 41 people.
Violence linked to Boko Haram’s insurgency has left some 3,000 people dead since 2009, including killings by the security forces.
The group’s deadliest attack yet occurred in Kano in January 2012, when coordinated bombings and shootings killed at least 185 people.