Radical sect kills 7 in northeast Nigeria

Gunmen suspected to belong to a radical Islamist sect attacked a bakery and shot others in the streets of a northeast Nigeria city, killing at least seven people, police said Thursday.

The attack again saw gunmen open fire in the city of Maiduguri, where the sect known as Boko Haram once had its main mosque.

The gunfire began late Wednesday, when suspected sect gunmen opened fire and shot dead an officer of the Nigeria Customs Service, Borno state police spokesman Samuel Tizhe said. The gunmen also killed a man selling drinking water in the street, Tizhe said.

Gunmen later opened fire at a bakery where workers had been working overnight in preparation for sales Thursday morning, Tizhe said, killing five people.

It wasn't immediately clear why the sect attacked the bakery, which sits in a neighborhood close to the local branch of Nigeria's Central Bank.

This is just the latest violence in the area blamed on Boko Haram, whose name means "Western education is sacrilege" in the Hausa language of Nigeria's north. The sect is blamed for killing more than 440 people this year alone in Nigeria, according to an Associated Press count.

The sect has rejected efforts to begin indirect peace talks with Nigeria's government, as diplomats and other say it has links to two other al-Qaida-linked groups in Africa. Boko Haram's demands include the introduction of strict Shariah law across the country, even in Christian areas, and the release of all imprisoned followers.

The attack comes as a security official has told the AP that Nigeria is opening a secret detention center in the southwestern city of Lagos to hold and interrogate suspected high-level members of the sect.