Through the Wire

Nigerian Suicide Bombings Killed 22 at Bus Station in Kano

March 19, 2013
| Africa

March 19 (Bloomberg) -- Two suicide bombers killed at least 22 people in an attack on a bus station in the northern Nigerian city of Kano yesterday, said the state’s police commissioner, Musa Daura.

About 65 people were wounded when the bombers struck Kano’s Sabon Gari district, an area mostly inhabited by migrants from the southern Christian Igbo ethnic group, Daura said by phone. At least five buses were destroyed in the attack, according to Tobias Idika, chairman of a group representing the Igbos in the region. President Goodluck Jonathan condemned the bombings as “barbaric” in a statement.

Nigeria is cooperating with its neighbors and countries including the U.K. and France to fight the militant attacks, Jonathan said today at a conference in Lagos, the commercial capital. The government is open to “dialogue with aggrieved groups,” while it strives to improve access to health care, education and jobs, he said.

The Islamist militant group Boko Haram has been attacking targets in the north and the capital, Abuja, since 2009 in a campaign to impose Shariah law in Africa’s top oil producer. Boko Haram said it’s holding seven kidnapped tourists and won’t release them until members of the group are freed from prison.

The French citizens, including four children, were seized on Feb. 19 in northern Cameroon before being taken across the border to the northeastern Nigerian town of Maiduguri.

French Hostages

“These seven French will not be released until we see our detained brethren released,” Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau said in an audio recording e-mailed by the group to reporters in Maiduguri. “We are holding them in custody because the leaders of Cameroon and Nigeria have also detained our brethren with women and children under dehumanizing conditions.”

Another group, Jamaatu Ansarul Muslimina Fi Biladissudan, or “Group of Supporters of Muslims in the Land of the Blacks,” has also claimed responsibility for attacks.

Ansaru said in a March 9 statement that it killed seven foreigners kidnapped last month. The Italian and Greek governments said on March 10 that the hostages had been killed, while the U.K. said they were probably dead.

Jonathan said yesterday that some of those hostages may still be alive.

Nigeria, Africa’s most populous country with more than 160 million people, is roughly split between the largely Muslim north and the predominantly Christian south.

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