Bloomberg News

Suspected Nigerian Islamists Burn Schools; Blast Kills 3

March 02, 2012

Suspected Nigerian Islamist militants burned five primary schools yesterday in the northeastern city of Maiduguri, police and military officials said.

Troops killed four Islamist fighters in a separate clash, officials said. Three public schools in Maiduguri’s Gwange district and two private schools were set ablaze, Samuel Tizhe, a police spokesman, said by phone today, adding that “there was no casualty as a result of the attacks.”

Nigeria’s more than 160 million people are roughly split between a mainly Muslim north and a predominantly Christian south. A spokesman for Boko Haram, which wants Islamic law in Nigeria, told reporters on Feb. 26 on a teleconference from Maiduguri that the group chose to target schools because security forces were raiding Koranic schools in search of their members.

Separately, a blast in the Kaleri district of Maiduguri today killed three people suspected to be Boko Haram Islamist militants as they worked in an improvised bomb factory, Lieutenant-Colonel Hassan Mohammed, a spokesman for the military, said by phone.

“We are in no doubt that these are Boko Haram members who got killed while coupling improvised explosive devices,” Mohammed said.

Authorities in Nigeria, Africa’s top oil producer and most populous country, blame the militant Islamist group, which draws inspiration from Afghanistan’s Taliban movement, for a surge of violence in the country’s north and Abuja, the capital in which hundreds have died this year.

Four people suspected to be members of the Islamist militant group, whose name means “Western education is a sin,” were shot dead when they refused to stop their car at a checkpoint in Maiduguri yesterday and opened fire on soldiers, Mohammed said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Gbenga Akingbule in Maiduguri at gakingbule@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Dulue Mbachu at dmbachu@bloomberg.net


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