ABUJA, Sep 20 – Boko Haram Islamists opened fire Friday on security agents conducting an operation near a residence for lawmakers in Nigeria’s capital Abuja, starting a gunfight that injured several people, the intelligence branch said.
Following a tipoff from arrested Boko Haram fighters, security forces headed to a purported weapons cache behind the building in Abuja’s Apo neighbourhood, said Marilyn Ogar, spokeswoman for the Department of State Services.
Shortly after midnight they started “digging for the arms”, Ogar said in a statement.
They then “came under heavy gunfire attack by Boko Haram elements within the area, which prompted immediate response from the security team,” she said.
“Some persons were injured and 12 others were arrested in connection with the incident,” Ogar added.
Boko Haram, which claims it wants to set up an Islamic state in northern Nigeria, has previously attacked Abuja in the centre of the country, including bombings at a United Nations building, newspaper offices and a shopping mall.
The capital was placed under tight security after the August 2011 UN bombing, with military checkpoints in place around most government buildings.
Attacks in Abuja had however declined dramatically in recent months.