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

Uganda Court Annuls Anti-Gay Law

Court says law was passed in parliament without enough members present for a full quorum More

Multimedia Thailand Makes Efforts to Improve Conditions for Migrant Laborers

In Thailand, its not uncommon for parents to bring their children to work; one company, in-collaboration with other organizations, address safety concerns More

In Indonesia, Jihad Video Raises Concern

Video calls on Indonesians to join Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, ISIL 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.
In Thailand, Some Efforts to Improve Conditions For Migrant Laborersi
X
Steve Herman
August 01, 2014 6:22 PM
Thailand has been facing increasing international scrutiny as a hub of human trafficking and slave labor. Some of the kingdom’s companies are striving to improve working conditions, especially for the millions of migrant laborers from surrounding countries. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok takes a look at one initiative for children at construction sites
Video

Video In Thailand, Some Efforts to Improve Conditions For Migrant Laborers

Thailand has been facing increasing international scrutiny as a hub of human trafficking and slave labor. Some of the kingdom’s companies are striving to improve working conditions, especially for the millions of migrant laborers from surrounding countries. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok takes a look at one initiative for children at construction sites
Video

Video Public Raises its Voice on Power Plant Pollution

In the United States, proposed rules to cut pollution from the nation’s 600 coal-fired power plants are generating a heated debate. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, charged with writing and implementing the plan, has already received 300,000 written comments. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, another 1,600 people are lining up this week at EPA headquarters and at satellite offices around the country to give their testimony in person.
Video

Video Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukraine

The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video When Fighting Eases, Gazans Line Up at Bakeries

When there is a lull in the conflict in Gaza, residents who have been hunkered down in their apartments rush out to stock up on food and other necessities. Probably the most important destination is the local bakery. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Gaza City.
Video

Video China Investigates Powerful Former Security Chief

The public in China is welcoming the Communist Party's decision to investigate one of the country's once most powerful politicians, former domestic security chief Zhou Yongkang. Analysts say the move by President Xi Jinping is not only an effort to win more support for the party, but an essential step to furthering much needed economic reforms and removing those who would stand in the way of change. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video US-Funded Program Offers Honduran Children Alternative to Illegal Immigration

President Obama and Central American leaders recently agreed to come up with a plan to address poverty and crime in the region that is fueling the surge of young migrants trying to illegally enter the United States. VOA’s Brian Padden looks at one such program in Honduras - funded in part by the United States - which gives street kids not only food and safety but a chance for a better life without, crossing the border.
Video

Video 'Fab Lab' Igniting Revolution in Kenya

The University of Nairobi’s Science and Technology Park is banking on 3-D prototyping to spark a manufacturing revolution in the country. Lenny Ruvaga has more for from Nairobi's so-called “FabLab” for VOA.
Video

Video Immigrant Influx on Texas Border Heats Up Political Debate

Immigrants from Central America continue to cross the U.S.-Mexico border in south Texas, seeking asylum in the United States, as officials grapple with ways to deal with the problem and provide shelter for thousands of minors among the illegal border crossers. As VOA's Greg Flakus reports from Houston, the issue is complicated by internal U.S. politics and U.S. relations with the troubled nations that immigrants are fleeing.

AppleAndroid