File picture: People gather around a minibus that was struck in an explosion near a highway overpass in Kaduna, Nigeria.

KADUNA/ABUJA - At least 80 people have been killed since Monday in clashes in two northern Nigerian cities triggered by Islamists waging an insurgency against the government, figures from police and the Red Cross showed on Wednesday.

Boko Haram insurgents waged gunbattles with security forces in the remote northeastern city of Damaturu, near the radical sect's heartland, throughout Tuesday, police chief for the surrounding Yobe state Patrick Egbuniwe told Reuters. He said 40 people were killed, 34 insurgents and 6 security forces.

In separate clashes between Muslim and Christian residents of the northern city of Kaduna on Tuesday, triggered by suspected Islamist bombings of three churches two days earlier, at least 40 people were killed and 62 wounded, according to figures from local Nigeria Red Cross official Awwal Sani. – Reuters