* Six killed in Maiduguri gun attacks Thursday
* Gunmen kill another 3 playing cards in Kano
* President lifts state of emergency in some regions
By Ibrahim Mshelizza
MAIDUGURI, Nigeria, July 20 Suspected Islamist
Boko Haram militants killed six people in Maiduguri in Nigeria's
northeast Borno state a day after President Goodluck Jonathan
lifted a state of emergency in several regions, the military
said on Friday.
Two people were killed on Thursday during a gunfight between
suspected Boko Haram members and the military Joint Task Force
(JTF) in Maiduguri, before gunmen killed four people at a nearby
market, the JTF told Reuters.
"My men were patrolling around the market after it closed,"
Police Commissioner Bala Hassan said after confirming the death
toll from the attacks.
In Kano, northern Nigeria's largest city more than 500 km
(300 miles) west of Maiduguri, gunmen riding on motorcycles shot
dead three people who were playing cards late on Thursday, the
police told Reuters on Friday.
Boko Haram often targets people who are drinking alcohol or
suspected of gambling.
The majority of the sect's attacks are in Maiduguri, the
capital of Borno state in the far northeast of Nigeria, where
its insurgency began in 2009, although the threat has spread and
bombings and shootings are common in cities across the north.
President Jonathan on Wednesday rescinded a state of
emergency in several local government areas, including in Borno,
ahead of the holy Islamic month of Ramadan, which is observed by
most of Nigeria's estimated 80 million Muslims.
Curfews and movement restrictions were relaxed in several
cities hit by recent violence.
Boko Haram has killed hundreds of people this year in its
campaign against Jonathan's administration, part of its goal to
carve out an Islamic state in Africa's most populous nation.
The sect claimed it carried out attacks in central Plateau
state earlier this month that killed at least 65 people. This
region has suffered religious clashes for more than a decade but
has not previously been targeted by Boko Haram.
Jonathan said, however, that Boko Haram had nothing to do
with the clashes. He blamed them on long-running tension between
mostly-Muslim Fulani herdsmen and largely-Christian Berom
communities over who land rights in Plateau.
Thousands of Fulanis were ordered out of villages and into
temporary camps this week in a military operation aimed at
flushing out the perpetrators of recent violence. The nomadic
tribes said it was an attempt to push them out of the region.
(Reporting by Ibrahim Mshelizza in Maiduguri and Augustine in
Kano; Writing by Joe Brock; Editing by Mark Heinrich)