Boko Haram reckless suicide bombers attack kill at least 24 in Nigeria

February 25, 2015 3:42 am

The scene of a suicide bomb explosion at a bus station in Kano, Nigeria, yesterday. Photo / AP
The scene of a suicide bomb explosion at a bus station in Kano, , yesterday. Photo / AP

Teenage suicide bombers, suspected to be Boko Haram extremists, have
killed at least 24 people in separate blasts at crowded bus stations in
two northern Nigerian cities 300km apart.
In an apparently unrelated development, an American missionary has been kidnapped from a school in central Kogi state.
The Reverend Phyllis Sortor was taken away Monday by several
abductors, according to a statement on the website of the Free Methodist
Church in Seattle.
Kidnappings for ransom are common in Nigeria, and many victims are returned unharmed.

In the northeastern town of Potiskum, a young man forced his
way onto a bus and detonated explosives that killed 12 people and
injured 20, according to the bus driver and hospital records.
Hours
later, two young men were blamed for explosions that ripped through a
bus station in northern Kano city, killing at least 12 people and
injuring many more, according to state police commissioner Ibrahim
Idris.
Witnesses said the bombers appeared to be 17 or 18 years
old. The explosions triggered fires that destroyed two buses and a car,
Mr Idris said.
Firefighters rushed to the scene of twisted metal,
wailing people and billowing smoke. Ambulances with sirens blaring
carried bodies and the wounded to the hospitals in Kano, Nigeria’s
second largest city.

Police officers stand guard following a suicide bomb explosion at a bus station in Kano, Nigeria. Photo / AP
Police officers stand guard following a suicide bomb explosion at a bus station in Kano, Nigeria. Photo / AP
The attack in Potiskum came two days after a girl who
looked about 10 years old carried explosives that detonated, killing her
and four others at a market in the same town.
Bus driver Adamu
Isa said a security guard stopped a man who set off a metal detector as
passengers were boarding his bus in Potiskum.
“He was told to
stand to one side but instead forced himself onto the bus and blew
himself up,” said Mr Isa, who considered himself lucky to be alive.
There
was no immediate claim of responsibility for Tuesday’s blasts but they
bear all the signs of similar attacks by Nigeria’s home-grown Boko Haram
Islamic extremist group.
On Monday, a woman walked into a
primary school in Fune, another area of Yobe state, and tried to give
pupils a parcel to deliver to the headmistress. When they refused, she
ran off, leading security agents to surmise she may have been carrying a
bomb, teacher Mohammad Isa of Damagum Central Primary School said.
All schools in the area have been closed because of the possible threat.

Security forces stand guard at the site of a suicide bomb explosion at a bus station in Kano, Nigeria. Photo /AP
Security forces stand guard at the site of a suicide bomb explosion at a bus station in Kano, Nigeria. Photo /AP
Boko Haram is a nickname meaning “Western education is
forbidden” in the local Hausa language and the extremists have
perpetrated numerous attacks on schools and students.
Nigeria’s
President Goodluck Jonathan commiserated with families of the victims
and condemned the extremists for choosing soft targets.
A
presidential statement said recent victories by Nigerian troops who have
retaken a dozen towns from Boko Haram show “the tide has now turned”.
Jonathan
said his administration will guarantee continuing success including to
“drastically reduce” Boko Haram’s ability to take and hold territory “or
recruit, groom and brainwash young persons to undertake suicide bombing
attacks on soft targets”.
Attacks by girls and young women have
raised fears that Boko Haram is using some of its hundreds of kidnap
victims to carry out bombings.
It is unclear if children are detonating explosives, if the
blasts are remotely controlled, and if the children understand what is
happening.
At least 10,000 people have been killed in Nigeria’s
Islamic uprising in the past year, according to the Council on Foreign
Affairs, and some 1.6 million people have been driven from their homes
in the campaign to enforce strict Islamic law across Nigeria, whose 160
million people are divided almost equally between Muslims and
Christians.

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