Nigerian police sources reported that at least eleven people were killed and three injured Tuesday as “multiple bomb attacks” rocked the city of Maiduguri, capital of the volatile north-eastern Borno state. The attacks are believed to be masterminded by the radical Islamist sect Boko Haram.
According to police spokesman Lawal Adbullahi, seven explosions targeted three different locations; two police stations and a Catholic church. Four explosive devices were hurled at the Gwange police station, whereas two others struck the Dandal police station and a last bomb exploded outside the Saint Patrick’s church.
Three of the victims are said to be attackers as an armed encounter opposed police forces from the Gwange station and suspected Boko Haram gunmen. Two police officers were injured in the shootout. Two other people were killed when the attackers hurled a bomb at the Saint Patrick’s church, although missing the target and killing two bystanders. It is worthwhile indicating that a blast was reported outside the same church was attacked last week.
The recently elected Borno state Governor, Kashim Shettima (All Nigeria People’s Party, ANPP), stated that he does not believe Boko Haram to be the only culprit in the increased number of attacks in his state. The ANPP leader hinted to “political thuggery” as he stated that he has “proof of the involvement of an opposition political party in the attack on the Dandal police station.” Currently, no group claimed responsibility for these attacks.
Although the option of political inspired violence is not to be ruled out, these incidents once more underscore the determination of Boko Haram to continue their fight against the government and other religions. It has to be mentioned that they have been increasing their actions throughout the country and claimed responsibility for a deadly blast in the neighbouring Bauchi state following the inauguration of President Goodluck Jonathan. Intelligence reports also indicated that members of the sect – dubbed the “Nigerian Taleban” – have infiltrated the western Niger stateand the neighbouring Federal Capital Territory (FTC) of Abuja.