Boko Haram strikes across northeastern Nigeria and in Cameroon
Over the past three days, Boko Haram mounted attacks in Kano state in the north, Borno state in the northeast, Adamawa state in the east, and in neighboring Cameroon. Three of the attacks involved female suicide bombers. Celebrations marking the end of Eid al-Fitr were canceled in Kano after two bomb attacks occurred just hours apart.
In the first attack in Kano, an improvised explosive device (IED) was thrown at the Saint Charles Catholic Church in Kano City, the state capital and the second-largest city in Nigeria. The explosion, which occurred as worshipers were exiting the building after Sunday Mass, killed least five people and wounded eight more. The church is located in Kano's predominantly Christian Sabon Gari district, which has been targeted previously by suspected Boko Haram fighters. Last week an IED was set off at an area motor park, killing one person and injuring several others. And in March 2013 over 20 people were killed when a suicide car bomb attack was launched at a bus station in Sabon Gari.
Shortly after the attack on the church, a woman wearing a long black hijab blew herself up at the gate of a university in Kano. Police officers at the school had isolated the woman as she was behaving strangely. Police spokesman Frank Mba told AFP that the officers were about to ask a female colleague to search her when she detonated the device. One report noted that she was 15 years old, but this and other details remain unconfirmed.
Two days ago, police in Kano reportedly deactivated a car bomb that was stationed at the gate of the Isiayaku Rabiu Mosque. Hidden in a Peugeot 406, the explosives-laden vehicle was set to explode during Eid prayers on Sunday.
This morning, another female suicide bomber detonated an explosive device in Kano, killing three people and wounding seven others. The victims had been standing in a long line of women waiting to buy cooking gas at a petrol station.
Yet another female suicide bomber struck in Kano city this afternoon, killing herself and injuring six others, including two policemen, when she detonated at the Trade Fair Complex. Vanguard News reported that the 19-year-old blew herself up after being denied access to the complex.
In northeastern Borno state, suspected Boko Haram fighters killed and decapitated two refugees at a camp in Shaffa for persons displaced by the terror group's attacks. During the attack in Shaffa, a Christian and Muslim mixed town, Boko Haram warned others "not to accommodate pro-military villagers."
To the east, in Adamawa state, members of Boko Haram rode into the town of Hong, indiscriminately shooting on Sunday morning. One resident reportedly counted 30 bodies. According to Punch News, Boko Haram gunmen killed at least 50 people, including four soldiers, in separate attacks in the Hong area and burned two churches as well as several homes.
Across Nigeria's eastern border, suspected Boko Haram fighters kidnapped the wife of Cameroon's deputy prime minister as well as several other people on Sunday. In the northern town of Kolofata, just a few miles from the Nigerian border, deputy prime minister Amadou Ali's wife and her maid were reportedly taken in "a savage attack from Boko Haram militants," information minister Issa Tchiroma told Reuters. During the incident, Ali was able to escape to a neighboring town.
In a separate attack in the Cameroonian town yesterday, local religious leader and mayor Seini Boukar Lamine and five members of his family were also kidnapped. It was reported that at least three other people were killed in the incident at the religious leader's home.
While there has been no claim of responsibility for either of the Kolofata attacks, Boko Haram has been increasingly active in Cameroon. Boko Haram fighters recently kidnapped two teenage sons of an influential Muslim cleric in Limani, and attacked a police station in Nariki and killed a policeman. In May, the group kidnapped 10 Chinese workers from the country.
Boko Haram, whose name means "Western education is sin" in Hausa, has ramped up its brutal campaign across northern Nigeria against both government and civilian targets. The group has attacked churches, schools, newspapers, government and religious officials, and security forces, and has not hesitated to slaughter or kidnap civilians and to raze entire villages. Boko Haram was designated a terrorist organization by the United States in November 2013 and by the United Nations in May 2014.