Kano, Nigeria -

Gunmen with explosives attacked a police station outside northern Nigeria's restive largest city of Kano, killing a policeman and a civilian, police said on Thursday.

“We lost a policeman in the attack and the body of a civilian was also found around the police station but it is still not clear if he was among the gunmen or a resident caught in crossfire,” Kano State police spokesman Magaji Majia told AFP.

He said the attackers had stormed the police station in the town of Bunkure, 40 kilometres from Kano late on Wednesday and engaged policemen in a shootout.

The attackers hurled explosives into the police station which destroyed a section of the building, he said.

Majia refused to say if the gunmen were from the Boko Haram Islamist sect blamed for scores of deadly attacks in northern and central Nigeria that have claimed about 3 000 lives, including killings by security agents.

The attack came just days after a purported Boko Haram commander declared a ceasefire on behalf of the group, although there are doubts if he was speaking for the group which has various factions. - Sapa-AFP