Witnesses: 7 Dead in Sect Attacks in North Nigeria
A coordinated series of bombings and gun attacks Friday claimed by a radical Islamist sect killed at least seven people in the largest city in Nigeria’s Muslim north, witnesses said, threatening to engulf the whole region in violence.
Gunfire echoed through the city late into the night, as security forces turned away emergency officials from sites of the attacks. The scope of the assault suggested that the death toll would rise, as it also represent the first major attack by members of the sect known as Boko Haram on Kano, a city of more than 9 million people that holds the many dominant political and religious leaders for Muslims in Nigeria.
The attacks began at 5 p.m. Friday, following afternoon prayers as workers began to leave their offices in the sprawling, dusty city.
A massive blast at a regional police headquarters shook cars miles (kilometers) away, an Associated Press reporter said. The blast came from a suicide car bomber who drove into the regional headquarters compound and detonated his explosives, deputy superintendent of police Aminu Ringim said. The explosion tore away the headquarters’ roof and blew out the building’s windows.
Three blasts struck other police stations around the city, said Abubakar Jibril, an official with Nigeria’s National Emergency Management Agency. Gunfire also echoed through the streets.
A separate blast also struck the local headquarters of the State Security Service, Nigeria’s secret police, witnesses and state-run television said. Secret police spokeswoman Marilyn Ogar declined to comment.