Bloomberg News

Nigeria Bombings at Police Stations Kill 53; Curfew Ordered

November 07, 2011

Nov. 7 (Bloomberg) -- At least 53 people were killed in suicide bombings and attacks on mainly police stations in the northeastern Nigerian city of Damaturu, police said.

The Taliban-inspired Boko Haram group said it carried out attacks in Yobe and Borno states that started on Nov. 4. Eleven police officers and seven of the attackers were killed and an overnight curfew was imposed in Damaturu, said Sulaimon Lawal, police commissioner for Yobe state.

Nigeria’s northeastern city of Maiduguri was also rocked by multiple explosions on Nov. 4, including a possible suicide bombing close to the offices of the military’s Joint Task Force. Three people were killed in attacks in Potiskum about 120 kilometers (75 miles) west of Damaturu, Lawal said.

Authorities in Nigeria blame Islamist Boko Haram for a spate of attacks in the past year in Africa’s top oil producing nation that targeted government buildings and security forces. The group said earlier it was behind an Aug. 26 suicide car-bomb that killed 23 people at a United Nations building in the capital, Abuja.

“We will continue attacking federal government formations until security forces stop persecuting our members and vulnerable citizens,” Abu Qaqa, a spokesman for Boko Haram, said.

Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan canceled a wedding trip in southern Bayelsa state and condemned the bombings, the Lagos-based Guardian newspaper reported, citing presidential spokesman Reuben Abati. Abati’s mobile phone was switched off when called by Bloomberg for comment.

Emergency Message

The U.S. Embassy issued an emergency message Nov. 5 warning U.S. citizens that the group may plan to attack hotels in Abuja including the Nicon Luxury, the Sheraton Hotel and the Transcorp Hilton Hotel.

In Tabak, in northern Kaduna state, two churchgoers were killed and 12 wounded Oct. 4 when gunmen attacked a church, said Aminu Lawal, a police spokesman in Kaduna. In nearby Zonkwa on the night of Nov. 3, two people were killed and 11 injured, Lawal said by phone Nov. 5.

The attacks in Maiduguri took place as security forces carried out house-to-house searches for weapons in the city in a bid to end attacks by Boko Haram. At least three explosions wounded some soldiers, Colonel Hassan Mohammed said two days ago. There were no fatalities, he said.

The weapons-recovery operation in Maiduguri began on Nov. 1 after the expiration of a deadline for residents to turn in illegal guns and explosives at designated centers. Security forces have secured 5,000 weapons so far, Mohammed said.

Boko Haram, in a statement Nov. 3, urged residents not to turn in their weapons.

--With assistance from Paul Tighe in Sydney. Editors: Paul Tighe, Ann Hughey.

To contact the reporters on this story: Mustapha Muhammad in Johannesburg at mmuhammad5@bloomberg.net; Chris Kay in Abuja at ckay5@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Paul Tighe at ptighe@bloomberg.net


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