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

Philippines, Muslim Rebels Try to Salvage Peace Pact

Peace process faces major setback after botched military operation to find terrorists results in bloody gunbattle between government forces, Moro Islamic Liberation Front fighters More

Republicans Expect Long, Expensive Presidential Battle

Political strategist says eventual winner will be one who can put together strongest coalition of various conservative groups that make up Republican Party More

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Engineers have come up with a lever-operated design that makes use of easily accessible bicycle technology 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.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More