News / Africa

Nigeria Police Investigating Kano Attacks

A police officer walks past an engine block of a suicide bomber's vehicle by the wall of the state police headquarters in Kano, Nigeria, January 24, 2012.
A police officer walks past an engine block of a suicide bomber's vehicle by the wall of the state police headquarters in Kano, Nigeria, January 24, 2012.

Police in Nigeria's second largest city, Kano, are keeping a low profile after Islamic militants struck their offices and killed many of their colleagues in a series of daring bomb attacks.  The official death toll from Friday's attacks stands at 185, but news agencies suggest it could be much higher. Abuja reports the attacks revealed glaring weaknesses in Kano's security setup.

Days after the radical Islamic sect Boko Haram staged a coordinated series of attacks in Kano, its citizens are struggling to understand how the city's security failed so badly.

The picture beginning to emerge is one of hundreds of Boko Haram fighters acting with military precision, simultaneously storming police stations and other government buildings.  The attacks began after Friday prayers in the ancient Muslim commercial center.

Reporter Salisu Fage of the Leadership newspaper in Kano says the ease with which the attackers overwhelmed the police has left many citizens feeling defenseless.

"Certainly everybody is surprised at the kind of sophistication they have because even the police couldn't have the weapons that can fight back," said Fage.  "People are wondering from where and how they are getting their weapons and the kind of training they are having."

Police officials have been conspicuously silent since the attacks, declining interview requests and keeping cell phones switched off.

Yunus Zakaria Ya'u of Kano's Center for Information Technology and Development says officers who normally wear uniforms have switched to plain clothes to avoid notice by the unseen enemy.

"There is less visibility of police on the streets, I guess it is largely strategic," said Ya'u.  "They probably are using plain clothes since the uniform has become the target of the Boko Haram. "

Reporter Salisu Fage says the city's 8,300 strong police force is insufficient to provide security for 14 million residents.  He says Friday's failure has sent morale among officers to a new low.

"The police have been devastated by the series of attacks," added Fage.  "It affected their psychology, affected their morale, and it must have a serious impact on their ability to come up with a satisfactory explanation."

In the days since the attacks, several unexploded bombs have been found around Kano, fueling suspicions that more attacks may be imminent.  A few loud explosions heard Tuesday raised fears that the killings and destruction may have been continuing.  But no new attacks were reported.

Boko Haram is a shadowy radical Islamic group dedicated to establishing an Islamic state in mostly Muslim northern Nigeria.  In the Hausa language spoken in the north, the name means “Western education is sacrilegious."  Sympathizers say the name is a rallying cry against the perceived corruption of Nigeria's western-educated elites.

Human Rights Watch issued a statement Tuesday calling the recent series of high-profile Boko Haram bombings “an indefensible attack on human life."  The rights group said 935 people have been killed since Boko Haram began its campaign of violence in July 2009, including more than 250 in the first three weeks of this year.

In recent months, the group has claimed responsibility for a suicide bomb at the United Nations offices in the capital, and for a Christmas Day blast that killed more than 40 people at a Catholic church near Abuja

You May Like

Video Analysts: Beijing Parade a 'Bazaar' of Stolen Technology

Show commemorating victory over Japan in World War II involved long, medium and short range missiles, a range of tanks and 200 fighter aircraft More

Bernie Sanders Surge Reflects US Shift on Socialism

Although most analysts say it is unlikely he will get the Democratic nomination, Sanders' campaign opens up questions and issues that are otherwise marginalized More

Video On IS Frontline, Kurdish Fighters Ready for Offensive

Peshmerga soldiers say although they need more heavy artillery, they are poised to take the fight to the Islamic State extremists on their turf More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Drowned Migrant Toddler Photo Triggers European Outragei
X
Henry Ridgwell
September 04, 2015 11:36 AM
The harrowing picture of a drowned three-year-old Syrian boy washed up on a Turkish beach appears to have galvanized Europe’s leaders into doing more to address the refugee crisis. France, Germany and Italy issued a joint call Thursday for compulsory quotas of refugees for all EU states. But there were chaotic scenes in Hungary as police tried to force migrants off a train heading for Austria. Henry Ridgwell has more. And a caution, some of the images in this report may be disturbing.
Video

Video Drowned Migrant Toddler Photo Triggers European Outrage

The harrowing picture of a drowned three-year-old Syrian boy washed up on a Turkish beach appears to have galvanized Europe’s leaders into doing more to address the refugee crisis. France, Germany and Italy issued a joint call Thursday for compulsory quotas of refugees for all EU states. But there were chaotic scenes in Hungary as police tried to force migrants off a train heading for Austria. Henry Ridgwell has more. And a caution, some of the images in this report may be disturbing.
Video

Video Russians Observe 11th Anniversary of Beslan School Attack

This week, Russians have been observing the 11th anniversary of the attack by Islamic militants on a school in Russia's North Caucasus region that killed more than 330 hostages, including 186 children. The three-day siege and massacre that started on September 1, 2004 took place in Beslan, a town in the republic of North Ossetia, and is one of the bloodiest terrorist acts ever in Russia. VOA's Mike Richman reports.
Video

Video Native Americans Debate: Father Serra, Saint or Sinner?

Pope Francis will canonize an 18th century missionary to Spanish California during a papal visit to the United States this month.  But some Native Americans have criticized the elevation to sainthood of the missionary priest, Junipero Serra. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan has more from Los Angeles.
Video

Video Calais School Offers Another Face of Europe’s Migrant Crisis

Europe is facing mounting criticism over how it’s handling its biggest migration crisis since World War II. But not all Europeans believe building walls or passing repressive policies are the answer. A school for migrants in the French port city of Calais, is opening doors and building bonds across nationalities. VOA's Lisa Bryant reports.
Video

Video Kurdish Fighters on IS Frontline Ready for Offensive

Finger on the trigger, the Kurdish Peshmerga soldier stared across the dust at a village taken over by Islamic State extremists. The Kurdistan’s Khazir frontline, just 45 minutes from the Islamic State stronghold of Mosul. And at this point, the militants were less than two kilometers away. VOA's Sharon Behn reports.
Video

Video China Announces Troop Cuts at WWII Parade

Chinese President Xi Jinping Thursday announced plans to cut the world’s largest military force by 300,000 troops. The announcement was made during a massive military parade to commemorate victory over Japan in World War II. The event was shunned by most Western leaders and for some is raising fresh concerns about China’s military ambitions. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video Russia-Japan Relations Cool as Putin Visits China for WWII Anniversary

Russian President Vladimir Putin is in Beijing for commemorations of the 70th anniversary of China's WWII victory over Japan. Putin is expected to visit Japan later this year, but tensions between Tokyo and Moscow over islands disputed since the war, and sanctions over Ukraine, could pour cold water on the plan. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Yemen ‘on Brink of Disaster’ as Medical Shortages Soar

Aid agencies warn Yemen is on the brink of humanitarian disaster – with up to half a million children facing severe malnutrition, and hospitals running out of basic medicines. There are fears Yemen's civil war could escalate as the coalition led by Saudi Arabia tries to drive back Houthi rebels, who seized control of much of the country earlier this year. Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Apps Helping Kenyan Businesses Stay Ahead of Counterfeiters

Counterfeit goods in Kenya cost the government as much as $1 billion each year in lost tax revenues. The fake goods also hurt entrepreneurs who find it hard to carve out a niche in the market and retain customers. But as Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi, information technology is being used to try to beat the problem.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.

VOA Blogs