News / Africa

Islamist Group Claims Responsibility for Nigeria Bombing

Image taken from APTN footage shows smoke bellowing after an explosion at the police headquarters, in Abuja, June 16, 2011
Image taken from APTN footage shows smoke bellowing after an explosion at the police headquarters, in Abuja, June 16, 2011

Militant Islamist group Boko Haram is claiming responsibility for a suicide bombing outside a police headquarters in Nigeria's capital, Abuja, Thursday. At least two people were killed and several others wounded in the blast.

Nigerian police spokesman Olusola Amore says the explosion struck the parking lot of a police headquarters Thursday morning, killing the suspected suicide bomber and a police traffic warden, and destroying at least 30 cars.

Amore said the explosion occurred when the traffic warden climbed into the bomber's vehicle to direct it to the parking lot to be searched.  

"The criminal elements behind this dastardly act will be fished out as the government, the police and other security agencies will not succumb to the demands of any criminal group or individuals," said Amore.

The police spokesman said an investigation is underway, adding that police suspect the radical Nigerian group Boko Haram was behind the attack.

A spokesman for Boko Haram claimed responsibility for the explosion in an interview Thursday with VOA.  

Spokesman Usman Alzawahiri says yes, the blast is their handiwork. We are behind it, he says, and we are going to attack the entire north and other parts of the country, including the capital, Abuja. He says Boko Haram personnel just returned from Somalia five days ago and have been scattered around northern parts of the country. He says they are advising everyone to be wary.

Earlier this week, the group had laid out its conditions for a ceasefire and government-proposed peace talks.

However, Alzawahiri told VOA that for the moment, those efforts at reconciliation had collapsed and security agencies should prepare for intensified attacks.

Boko Haram claimed responsibility earlier this month for a series of bombings that killed 16 people after President Goodluck Jonathan's inauguration.

The group is also blamed for the killings of Muslim and Christian religious leaders and at least three bomb attacks this month in Borno State.

The group's name in the Hausa language means "Western education in a sin."  It seeks to undermine state authority and calls for the stricter application of sharia, or Islamic law, in Nigeria.

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