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January 21, 2012

Nigerian President Visits Kano, Site of Deadly Attacks

Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan traveled to the northern city of Kano on Sunday as the death toll from Friday's coordinated attacks by the militant Boko Haram organization continues to rise.

An estimated 170 people have now died, most of them police officers and soldiers, from the bombings and shootings at police stations and government buildings in Nigeria's second largest city.

The attacks, claimed by Boko Haram, are described as the group's deadliest ever.

President Jonathan, who is Christian, met with the Emir of Kano, the city's Muslim traditional leader, and vowed to bring what he described as "terrorists" to justice.

The group says it aims to implement strict Sharia law across Nigeria.  A spokesman for Boko Haram said Friday's carnage was in response to the arrest of several sect members in Kano.

Soldiers patrolled Sunday in the northern city to ensure security and reassure residents the violence would not be repeated.

But in the neighboring state of Bauchi, a pre-dawn assault left at least 10 people dead. Two churches were also attacked.

Nigeria, Africa's most populous country and its biggest oil producer, is divided between a largely Christian south and a mostly Muslim north.  The continuing violence has raised concerns of a civil war.

Boko Haram, whose name has been translated as "Western education is sacrilegious," is blamed for the deaths of hundreds of people.  A Christmas Day bombing of a church near Abuja, Nigeria's capital, killed nearly 40 people.