Abuja: A series of coordinated bomb and gun
attacks by a radical Islamist sect targeting police stations
and the headquarters of Nigeria's secret police in northern
city of Kano on Saturday killed nearly 150 people and injured
several others, including Indians.
Rabiu Kwankwaso, the governor of Kano State, imposed a
24-hour curfew after the bodies, including those of several
policemen, were found scattered all over the the state
capital, Nigeria's second-largest city, which exploded into
violence since yesterday.
Authorities said militants, some of whom came as suicide
bombers, targeted four police stations, the headquarters of
the country’s secret police, state security service (SSS) in
Kano state and an immigration office.
A hospital worker on condition of anonymity said 126 dead
bodies were piled up in a mortuary at Murtala Muhammed
Specialist Hospital in Kano. However, an eyewitness Emmanuel
Iffer said on phone that he was able to count some 140
bodies littered along the streets of the city which is the
most populated in the north.
Most of the bodies seen along the roads were those of
military men, according to Iffer.
An official of the Red Cross, Nwakpa O. Nwakpa said his
aid agency is still collecting the bodies and injured and
taking them to emergency units of some hospitals or
The police are yet to come up with an official record and
there was no response when calls were made to the spokesman,
Olusola Amore. However, senior police sources expressed fears
that the number could go upto 150 as many of the injured were
in critical condition.
A doctor at Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital said some of the
injured persons were foreigners, including Indians who live
close to the SSS headquarters, according to him.
Abul Qaqa, a spokesman of Islamic radical group Boko
Haram, claimed responsibility for the attacks.
Nigerian troops were seen putting up check points in
various parts of the city amid fears of more attacks in Kano,
a city of more than 9 million people that remains an important
political and religious hub in Nigeria's Muslim north.
Residents, who heard the sound of the bombs with smokes
billowing out of the police building, scampered for safety.
"Some policemen who survived the attack were seen at the
premises of Zone one police station dirtied with dusts from
the rubble while the dismembered body of a suicide bomber lay
at the premises," a witness said.
The bombings, which numbered up to twenty, caused
pandemonium in the metropolis, were followed by shoot-outs
between the militants and security agencies especially at the
eastern Bompai district of the commercial city.
A patrol vehicle was accosted by a suicide bomber who
tried to jump on them but was fired at by the officers.
A reporter for a local television, Channels, Enenche
Akogwu was among those killed in the attacks, the station
A media report quoted the New York-based Committee to
Protect Journalists as saying a news editor for a
government-owned radio station called Highland FM was found
dead in a stream in the restive central Nigerian city of Jos
Authorities in the oil rich African country are known to
downplay death tolls during terror attacks and emergencies.
A police source said he is yet to confirm the nationality
of foreigners confirmed dead.
Boko Haram spokesman accused the government of refusing
to release members of the group held in various prisons in
Kano, triggering the attack.
Boko Haram, whose name means "Western education is
sacrilege", has been waging a bloody conflict to install
an Islamic government and Sharia rule in the country.
A suicide bomb attack by the radical group at the United
Nations headquarters in Abuja in July last year killed 26
Recently, President Goodluck Jonathan imposed curfew in
some states of the north because of the activities of the
militant group but Kano is not one of them.
The wave of violence by the Boko Haram has raised fears
of religious and sectarian conflict in Nigeria since a
Christmas day bombing last year that killed at least 40 people
in a church and several northern part of the country.
The 150-million Nigeria has both Muslim and Christian
population, with Muslims predominant in the north while
Christians mostly live in the South.
First Published: Saturday, January 21, 2012, 15:06