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Nigeria Police Investigate Islamic Learning Center Attack

  • Peter Clottey

A victim is tended to by medics in an ambulance following a blast at a Catholic church near Nigeria's capital Abuja, December 25, 2011.

A victim is tended to by medics in an ambulance following a blast at a Catholic church near Nigeria's capital Abuja, December 25, 2011.

A Nigerian police official says an investigation has been launched into yesterday’s explosion at an Islamic learning center in the Delta State that wounded seven people.

Deputy Public Relations officer Yemi Adjayi says the police have yet to determine the explosive device used by the assailants.

“We have not been able to establish whether it is an improvised explosive device or it’s a real bomb. That has to be left for investigation, which is in progress,” said Adjayi.

The injured have been taken to the government hospital in Asaba, where they are receiving medical treatment. No group has claimed responsibility for the attack.

The explosion comes just days after a string of deadly church bombings across the country that has left at least 39 people dead and several injured. Boko Haram, a radical Islamic sect claimed responsibility for the church attacks.

Following the last week’s bombings of Christian churches in northern Nigeria and this week’s attack on the Islamic learning center, some are warning heightened tensions could plunge Nigeria into crisis. But Adjayi disagreed.

“Am not foreseeing that,” said Adjayi. “The problem or the issue is not between Muslims and Christians. The problem is between the good people and bad people. Bad people who are willing to thwart the effort of the government in bringing peace back to the people in Nigeria.”

Critics say the worsening security situation is creating panic among citizens which they say will inhibit investments and drive out investors. They also say the strategy employed by the Nigeria security agencies has failed. But Adjayi said the police will continue with its mandate to protect citizens and property.

“While we are designing a strategy to get them arrested, they [criminals] will be equally designing a strategy to escape arrest and escape justice. It’s out of place that the criminals will have a field day while the police are around,” said Adjayi. “They will continue to run and be on the run until we get them arrested. We have been doing our best.”

He also said the police and other security agencies are not given credit for foiling violent plots by groups who aim to create security challenges and instability.

“Most of the information and intelligence that we have gathered has led to the arrest of so many of them. You know when tragedy is averted it’s never appreciated or talked about,” continued Adjayi. “Those that we have averted are larger in number than the ones that are rearing their ugly heads. And in few days, we are going to get all of them arrested to bring them to face justice.”