At Least 143 Dead in Boko Haram Attack in Nigeria
January 21, 2012 - 12:20 pm
A truly horrendous attack by the Muslim terrorist group.
A coordinated attack by a radical Islamist sect in north Nigeria’s largest city killed at least 143 people, a hospital official said Saturday, representing the extremist group’s deadliest assault since beginning its campaign of terror in Africa’s most populous nation.
Soldiers and police officers swarmed Kano’s streets as Nigeria’s president again promised the sect known as Boko Haram would “face the full wrath of the law.” But the uniformed bodies of security agents that filled a Kano hospital mortuary again showed the sect can strike at will against the country’s weak central government.
Friday’s attacks hit police stations, immigration offices and the local headquarters of Nigeria’s secret police in Kano, a city of more than 9 million people that remains an important political and religious center in the country’s Muslim north. A suicide bomber detonated a car loaded with powerful explosives outside a regional police headquarters, tearing its roof away and blowing out windows in a blast felt miles away as its members escaped jail cells there.
Authorities largely refused to offer casualty statistics as mourners began claiming the bodies of their loved ones to bury before sundown, following Islamic tradition. However, a hospital official told The Associated Press at least 143 people were killed in the attack.
The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he wasn’t authorized to release the death toll to journalists. The toll could still rise, since other bodies could be held at other clinics and hospitals in the sprawling city.
The targeted buildings were all government facilities. Previously, Boko Haram went after Christians, most notably, their Christmas Day attacks on churches in southern Nigeria.