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By Lanre Ola MAIDUGURI, Nigeria (Reuters) - Boko Haram insurgents attacked the outskirts of Maiduguri in northeast Nigeria on Sunday, their second assault in a week on a city they hope to make the capital of a breakaway Islamist state. At least eight people were killed as the insurgents fought gunbattles with government soldiers, witnesses and a hospital source said. Everybody is panicking and trying to flee the area," said Idris Abubakar, a resident of Polo on the southwestern outskirts of the city. In a separate incident in the town of Potiskum, 230 km (140 miles) west of Maiduguri, a suicide bomber blew himself up outside the house of a federal legislator, killing 10 people, two security sources told Reuters.
Malian rebels fought pro-government militia in the northern village of Kano overnight, three security sources said, firing rockets and briefly kidnapping at least 20 people in the latest spike of violence between armed groups. Tit-for-tat fighting between pro-government militia and Tuareg-led groups seeking greater freedom for a region they called Azawad has intensified in recent weeks. On Saturday, gunmen from the Tuareg separatist group MNLA and the MAA group of Malian Arabs encircled the village of Kano about 60 km (37 miles) east of Timbuktu and exchanged gunfire with pro-government fighters hiding there, according to two sources in the U.N. peacekeeping mission who asked not to be named. Separatist forces kidnapped at least 20 people at Kano, although they were liberated overnight after local authorities intervened.