Bomb attacks possible in Nigeria capital: US



Bomb attacks possible in Nigeria capital: US Lagos: A radical Muslim sect responsible for attacks that left more than 100 people dead in northeast Nigeria this week could bomb three luxury hotels frequented by foreigners in oil-rich nation's capital, the US Embassy warned on Sunday.

The unusually specific warning from US diplomats identified possible targets of the sect known locally as Boko Haram as the Hilton, Nicon Luxury and Sheraton hotels. Those hotels draw diplomats, politicians and Nigeria's business elite daily in the country's central capital of Abuja.

The embassy said the attack may come as Nigeria celebrates the Muslim holiday Eid al-Adha and that its diplomats and staff had been instructed to avoid those hotels. Deb MacLean, an embassy spokeswoman, declined to offer further details about the threat or the source of the information Sunday.

The warning came as a Nigerian Red Cross official said Sunday that more than 100 died in a series of attacks in northeast Nigeria launched by the radical Muslim sect, as sect gunmen shot and killed another police officer.

Ibrahim Bulama told a news agency he expected the number of dead to rise as local clinics and hospitals tabulate the casualty figures from the attacks Friday in Damaturu, the capital of rural Yobe state.

While the hard-hit city remained calm and its Muslim inhabitants celebrated a religious holiday Sunday, army and police units manned roadblocks leading into the town and streets remained largely quiet, Bulama said.

Meanwhile, the sect known locally as Boko Haram killed a police inspector Sunday in the city of Maiduguri, the sect's spiritual home about 80 miles (130 kilometers) east of Damaturu.

Sect gunmen stopped the officer's car at gunpoint as he neared a mosque to pray with his family, local police commissioner Simeon Midenda said.

Gunmen ordered the family away, then shot the inspector to death, Midenda said. The sect members later allowed his family to drive the car away, he said.

The killing prompted a frank acknowledgment from the police commander, whose men remain under siege from constant assassinations by the radical sect.

"Our men who live in the midst of the Boko Haram are not safe," Midenda said.

Statements issued late Saturday show the UN Security Council called the attacks Friday in the cities of Damaturu and Maiduguri "criminal and unjustifiable" and asked members to help Nigerian authorities bring those responsible to justice.

A statement on behalf of Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called for "an end to all violence in the area," while offering sympathy for the victims.

PTI