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*Many Dead After Coordinated Blasts In Nigeria
Coordinated attacks on Friday by Islamic militants in Kano, Nigeria killed over 160 people. The number of casualties are expected to be higher as some of the injured may die during treatment. Mortuaries and hospitals are struggling to cope with the number of casualties. Boko Haram, an Islamic terrorist group seeking to impose sharia law across Nigeria, claimed responsibility for the attacks which is their bloodiest to date. Boko Haram spokesman, Abul Qaqa, told reporters they carried out the attacks because the authorities refused to release their members arrested in Kano. The city has been placed under a 24-hour curfew; no arrests have been made at the time of this report. Red Cross teams were reported collecting dead bodies and the injured from the streets and taking them to mortuaries and hospitals.
Boko Haram whose name in Hausa language means "western education is sinful" is modeled after Taliban and Al-Qaeda in Afghanistan. It wants to impose sharia law across Nigeria through terror attacks in drawing attention to their demands. Outside the current attacks in Kano, the group had in the past launched attacks on churches, government buildings, police stations and other targets, including drive-by shootings resulting in casualties. Many have fled the north from these attacks. The Kano attacks is the group's most coordinated and deadly assault. Four police stations in the city, State Security Service (SSS) headquarters and passport and immigration offices were hit in the attacks. There was shoot-out between police and 'Boko Haram' gunmen at the headquarters of the state police in Kano's eastern district of Bompai. According to witnesses, a bomber who attacked one of the police stations rode to the station on a motorcycle, dismounted and ran inside the compound holding a bag.
A local resident, Andrew Samuel, reporting what he witnessed, said: "I was on the roadside and I just heard a boom. As I came back, I saw the building of the police headquarters crashing down and I ran for my life." Channels TV in a news report said one of its reporters, Enenche Akogwu, was killed in the attacks. According to the report, Akogwu was "shot by unknown gunmen suspected to be members of the Boko Haram sect", outside state house.
In a related development, an explosion rocked residents around Tombia bridge in Yenagoa, the capital of Bayelsa State, Friday night at 11.00 pm. The colonial bridge, close to the popular Tombia roundabout and around the corner from Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC)’s Gbaraun-Ubie gas pipeline sustained minimal damage. The blast awoke residents of the area that had gone to bed. A section of the concrete used in the construction of the 30 year-old bridge’s tail end broke-off. No life was lost in the blast. According to police, the explosion was from the detonation of dynamite about 40 metres from SPDC gas pipeline, which apparently was the target. Market stalls near the scene of the blast were shattered. At about the time of the blast, a car was set ablaze by unknown group near the roundabout by the Creek Haven Government House.
Speaking to newsmen on the incident, Bayelsa State commissioner of Police, Hilary Opara, said "some mischievous persons last night wanted to embarrass us by creating false impression of insecurity through the detonation of dynamites. We are lucky it did not damage the bridge. You can see that vehicles are still passing. Our bomb disposal unit was here last night to comb this area and they confirmed that it was dynamite. Immediately we finish our investigation, we will brief the media. What we have been doing before now is the adoption of proactive measures against all forms of sabotage." Bayelsa State governor, Timipre Sylva, commenting on the incident said "it is worrisome that these things are happening at a time the nation is faced with critical security challenges."
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Photo Above: Late Enenche Akogwu - Channels TV news reporter killed in the Kano blasts
Photo Above: Another victim of the Kano blasts
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