5 dead in the north after attacks target authorities

Attacks targeting authorities in two major cities of
Nigeria’s troubled north have left two suspected
suicide bombers dead and killed three others,
authorities said Monday.
Simultaneous suicide-bomb attacks Monday in the
major northwestern city of Sokoto also killed a
civilian and a police officer, said the regional police
chief, Assistant Inspector-General of Police Mukhtar
Ibrahim. One of the bombers struck a compound
containing a police station and regional police
offices, he said, while another attacked a police
station about four kilometres away.
An injured man at Specialist Hospital Sokoto, who
spoke on condition of anonymity because of the
sensitivity of the matter, said he saw a car race into
the main gate of the compound. He said he was on
a bicycle when the blast went off, the impact threw
him from the bike and he hurt his hand in the fall.
Police sealed off roads leading to both police
premises soon after the blasts.
Motorcycle-mounted gunmen later shot at a third
police station in another part of the city, said
Sokoto state police spokesman Sani Dahiru. He
could not immediately say how many gunmen
there were, or whether there had been casualties.
The twin explosions and drive-by shooting come as
Nigeria faces an increasing threat from a radical
Islamist sect known as Boko Haram.
There has also been a spate of recent attacks
targeting uniformed officers, some of which have
been blamed on the sect.
Three gunmen killed a shoe-shiner Monday morning
outside an uninhabited house belonging to Nigerian
Vice-President Namadi Sambo in the north central
city of Zaria, said Kaduna state police spokesman
Abubakar Balteh. He said the house had been under
renovation and that the man was near policemen
who had been guarding the construction site.
Rioters had burned down that same house during
postelection violence that swept across northern
Nigeria after April 2011 presidential polls, Mr.
Balteh said.
Sectarian violence has risen since that violence that
left at least 800 people dead across Nigeria’s north,
according to Human Rights Watch. Fighting started
after President Goodluck Jonathan, a Christian from
southern Nigeria, was declared the victor. Many in
Nigeria’s north thought a Muslim from the north
should have become president.
Two past presidents and onetime rivals said in a
joint statement Sunday that “the nation is gripped
by a regime of fear and uncertainty … virtually all
citizens have difficulties going about their normal
day to day lives without great anxiety and
trepidation,” said the statement signed by Ibrahim
Babangida and Olusegun Obasanjo. “This cannot be
allowed to continue!”
The statement did not mention Boko Haram by
name. However, authorities have accused the sect
of trying to exacerbate religious tensions in Africa’s
most populous nation evenly divided between
Muslims and Christians.
Over the last few days, attacks against security
authorities, a typical Boko Haram target, have
spanned a wide geographical area.
Air Commodore Sani Ahmed said motorcycle-
mounted gunmen killed two air-force officers in the
northern city of Kano on Sunday.
The violence came after a Friday-night clash
between suspected Boko Haram members and
security officers in the northeastern city of
Damaturu that left a policeman and a soldier dead,
said Yobe state police spokesman Toyin
Gbadagesin. He added that security officers then
razed a house believed to be harbouring sect
Witness Yau Zadawa said two motorcycle-mounted
gunmen also killed a policeman outside his house
late Friday after he had closed from a shift guarding
a local politician in the northeastern city of Bauchi.
Meanwhile, a soldier was also shot dead Friday in
the Boko Haram sect’s spiritual home of Maiduguri,
a city about 460 kilometres away from Bauchi.
Security officials are frequently targeted in violence
in Nigeria’s arid north and have been criticized for
killing suspects in their attempt to stop spiraling
sectarian violence.::::

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