News / Africa

After Nigerian Bombings, Families Search for Dead

After Nigerian Bombings, Families Search for Deadi
X
Anne Look
May 23, 2014 5:03 PM
The bombing of a busy market area in the central Nigerian city of Jos this week killed at least 130 people. Among them were women street sellers, shoppers and medical students nearing graduation. The blasts, believed to have been the work of militant sect Boko Haram, were the latest in a string of large-scale attacks against civilians. VOA's Anne Look has this report from Jos.
After Nigerian Bombings, Families Search for Dead
Anne Look
Families in the central Nigerian city of Jos flocked to the city morgue Friday, searching for victims of twin car bomb blasts that killed at least 130.
 
Boko Haram
 
  • Based in the northeastern city of Maiduguri
  • Self-proclaimed leader is Abubakar Shekau
  • Began in 2002 as a non-violent Islamist splinter group
  • Launched uprising in 2009
  • Has killed thousands since 2010
  • Boko Haram translates to "Western education is sinful"
  • Wants Nigeria to adopt strict Islamic law
The terror attacks on Tuesday came amid a surge of deadly violence in Africa’s most populous nation. They also came as outrage continued to mount about government efforts to stem the growing threat from the Islamic militant group Boko Haram, which in April abducted hundreds of school girls.  

There hasn’t been any claim of responsibility for the blasts which hit an outdoor market and near a teaching hospital.

Witnesses said authorities did not respond to reports of an abandoned white van that sat for five hours before exploding outside the market.

Outside the city morgue, Chris Obele said he and his father were searching for Chris’ brother, Michael, who was a medical student who had been at the teaching hospital. 
As the two emerged from inside the building, Chris held his father's shoulder tight, their grief visible.

Theresa Nwafor said her entire family was looking forward to the graduation of her eldest daughter Francisca, 24, who was killed in the blast.

“She's been promising us a lot of things.  'Mommy, don't worry. Mommy, don't worry. That when I graduate I'm going to do a lot of things for you. I'm going to change the family. I'm going to do this,’” Nwafor said. “She is a promising child. She was a promising child."

Outside the family house, dozens of relatives and community members assembled to mourn Francisca. Her father, Humphrey, said he asks himself why this happened.

"I don't see a reason," he said. "It is inhuman."

At least seven students have been identified, but Peter Omo-Erigbe, of the Nigerian Federation of Evangelical Students, says they’re looking for more.

"Some of the victims that we saw, some of them, their heads are not there.  Some of them, their faces are bruised.  So we can hardly identify the ones that are our students,” Omo-Erigbe said. “These ones were able to identify because their faces were still intact.”
 
The violence is believed to be the work of Boko Haram, a militant Islamic sect that has waged a terror campaign over the past five years against what it says is corruption of Islamic values by the West. The group is fighting to set up its version of an Islamic state in northern Nigeria

Militants have been raiding villages and killing residents by the hundreds this year in the so-called security zones of northeastern Nigeria.  Since April, they have extended their reach,  bombing the northern city of Kano and a busy bus station in the capital, Abuja, twice.
 
People participate in a People participate in a "Bring Back Our Girls" campaign demonstration and candlelight vigil, held on Mother's Day in Los Angeles, May 11, 2014.
x
People participate in a
People participate in a "Bring Back Our Girls" campaign demonstration and candlelight vigil, held on Mother's Day in Los Angeles, May 11, 2014.
Boko Haram’s abduction of hundreds of schoolgirls in April has garnered global outrage, including public condemnation by first lady Barack Obama, who said she and President Barack Obama were "outraged and heartbroken.” The Twitter hashtag #bringbackourgirls has gone viral, and caught the attention of celebrities across the globe.  

Nigerians have grown outraged at what many see as the government’s inability to halt the violence, and rescue the schoolgirls.

Schools closed across the nation Wednesday in protest of what teachers said are the government's failings.

In the northeastern capital of Maiduguri, the Nigeria Union of Teachers said it was protesting more than just the abduction of the girls. The union says 173 teachers have been killed in the three northeastern states of Borno, Adamawa and Yobe in the past five years.

Abdulkareem Haruna contributed to this report from Maiduguri, Nigeria.
 
  • An unidentified victim of Tuesday's car bomb explosions receives treatment in Jos University Teaching Hospital in Jos, Nigeria, May 21, 2014.
  • Red Cross personnel search for remains at the site of a car bomb in Jos, Nigeria, May 21, 2014.
  • People inspect the remains of a car bomb in Jos, Nigeria, May 21, 2014.
  • Smoke rises after a bomb blast at a bus terminal in Jos, Nigeria, May 20, 2014.

You May Like

Turbulent Transition Imperils Tunisia’s Arab Spring Gains

Critics say new anti-terrorism laws worsen Tunisia's situation while others put faith in country’s vibrant civil organizations, women’s movement More

Burundi’s Political Crisis May Become Humanitarian One

United Nations aid agencies issue warning as deadly violence sends tens of thousands fleeing More

Yemenis Adjust to Life Under Houthi Rule

Locals want warring parties to strike deal to stop bloodletting before deciding how country is governed More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: salome w peter from: kenya, kitui
May 23, 2014 4:25 PM
The relatives of the dead are heart broken,the Boko Haram have to be done away with completly.For how long will they terrorlise peopple,its a pitty peopple are searching for their loved ones ,the Nigerian Government,ask for assistance from other Countries to clean up this mess.Eternal rest to those who have died,amen.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Texas Town Residents Told to 'Just Leave' Ahead of Flood Threati
X
Greg Flakus
May 29, 2015 11:24 PM
Water from heavy rain in eastern and central Texas is now swelling rivers that flow into the Gulf of Mexico, threatening towns along their banks. VOA’s Greg Flakus visited the town of Wharton, southwest of Houston, where the Colorado River is close to cresting.
Video

Video Texas Town Residents Told to 'Just Leave' Ahead of Flood Threat

Water from heavy rain in eastern and central Texas is now swelling rivers that flow into the Gulf of Mexico, threatening towns along their banks. VOA’s Greg Flakus visited the town of Wharton, southwest of Houston, where the Colorado River is close to cresting.
Video

Video New York's One World Trade Center Observatory Opens to Public

From New Jersey to Long Island, from Northern suburbs to the Atlantic Ocean, with all of New York City in-between.  That view became available to the public Friday as the One World Trade Center Observatory opened in New York -- atop the replacement for the buildings destroyed in the September 11, 2001, attacks.  VOA’s Bernard Shusman reports.
Video

Video Seoul Sponsors Korean Unification Fair

With inter-Korean relations deteriorating over the North’s nuclear program, past military provocations and human rights abuses, many Koreans still hold out hope for eventual peaceful re-unification. VOA’s Brian Padden visited a “unification fair” held this week in Seoul, where border communities promoted the benefits of increased cooperation.
Video

Video Purple Door Coffeeshop: Changing Lives One Cup at a Time

For a quarter of his life, Kevin Persons lived on the street. Today, he is working behind the counter of an espresso bar, serving coffee and working to transition off the streets and into a home. Paul Vargas reports for VOA.
Video

Video Modular Robot Getting Closer to Reality

A robot being developed at Carnegie Mellon University has evolved into a multi-legged modular mechanical snake, able to move over rugged surfaces and explore the surroundings. Scientists say such machines could someday help in search and rescue operations. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Shanghai Hosts Big Consumer Electronics Show

Electronic gadgets are a huge success in China, judging by the first Asian Consumer Electronics Show, held this week in Shanghai. Over the course of two days, more than 20,000 visitors watched, tested and played with useful and some less-useful electronic devices exhibited by about 200 manufacturers. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Forced to Return Home, Afghan Refugees Face Increased Hardship

Undocumented refugees returning to Afghanistan from Pakistan have no jobs, no support system, and no home return to, and international aid agencies say they and the government are overwhelmed and under-resourced. Ayesha Tanzeem has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Britain Makes Controversial Move to Crack Down on Extremism

Britain is moving to tighten controls on extremist rhetoric, even when it does not incite violence or hatred -- a move that some are concerned might unduly restrict basic freedoms. It is an issue many countries are grappling with as extremist groups gain power in the Middle East, fueled in part by donations and fighters from the West. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video 3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Car

Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Al-Shabab Recruitment Drive Still on In Kenya

The al-Shabab militants that have long battled for control of Somalia also have recruited thousands of young people in Kenya, leaving many families disconsolate. Mohammed Yusuf recently visited the Kenyan town of Isiolo, and met with relatives of those recruited, as well as a many who have helped with the recruiting.
Video

Video A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensions

When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.

VOA Blogs