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New Attacks Reported in Nigeria

  • VOA News

An eye witness of the bomb blast gives his account to the Kano commissioner of the police during the police chief's assessment of the situation in Sabon Gari, Kano, May 19, 2014.

An eye witness of the bomb blast gives his account to the Kano commissioner of the police during the police chief's assessment of the situation in Sabon Gari, Kano, May 19, 2014.

Suspected Islamist militants have killed nearly 30 people in two villages near Chibok, the northern Nigerian town where hundreds of school girls were kidnapped last month.

Witnesses in Alagarno says gunmen stormed their village overnight Tuesday and killed at least 17 people. They say the attackers also stole food and set homes on fire.

Residents in nearby Shawa say gunmen killed at least 10 people during an attack on Monday.
Smoke rises after a bomb blast at a bus terminal in Jos, Nigeria, May 20, 2014.

Smoke rises after a bomb blast at a bus terminal in Jos, Nigeria, May 20, 2014.

Meanwhile, survivors of Tuesday's twin bombings in the city of Jos are telling their stories. The blasts in a busy market area killed at least 118 people.

One hospitalized female victim told VOA that she woke up after the blasts surrounded by dead bodies. A male victim said he was on his way to meet his grandmother and the next thing he remembered was being in the hospital.

No one has claimed responsibility. But suspicion immediately fell on Boko Haram -- the Islamist extremist group blamed for thousands of deaths over the past five years.

Boko Haram

  • Based in the northeastern city of Maiduguri
  • Self-proclaimed leader is Abubakar Shekau
  • Began in 2002 as a nonviolent Islamist splinter group
  • Launched uprising in 2009
  • Has killed tens of thousands since 2010
  • Boko Haram translates to "Western education is sinful"
  • Wants Nigeria to adopt strict Islamic law
The group has said it wants to establish a strict Islamic state in the country's north, but an adviser to Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan says the militants have a broader motive.

In a VOA interview, Reubin Abati said intelligence reports show that Boko Haram has ties to al-Qaida, Somalia-based al-Shabab and other terrorist groups.

"The objective is to destabilize Nigeria, destabilize West Africa and target other countries. And, the activities of that group have shown very clearly that this is a group that constitutes a threat to our civilization. This is a group that constitutes a threat to our democracy," said Abati. "This is a group that constitutes a threat to our common humanity and the bonds that tie us together."

Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan called Tuesday's bombings in Jos "cruel and evil," and said he is fully committed to winning the war on terrorism.

The U.S. State Department also condemned the blasts, along with a Sunday bombing in Kano that killed four people and Boko Haram's April kidnapping of the school girls.

In a Wednesday statement, spokeswoman Jen Psaki said the bombings and kidnappings were "unconscionable terrorist acts demanding accountability and justice."

On Tuesday, Nigerian lawmakers voted to extend a state of emergency for six months in the northeast, where Boko Haram is most active.

President Jonathan declared the state of emergency last year and sent thousands of troops to combat the militant group. However, large-scale attacks on schools, markets, military bases and other targets have continued.

Boko Haram kidnapped more than 300 girls from a school in Chibok in mid-April. Two hundred seventy-six of those girls remain missing.

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