Yesterday a pair of suicide bombers killed 22 Nigerians and wounded an estimated 65 more in an attack at a bus station in Kano, according to reports from the African country. The suicide bombers attacked “Kano’s Sabon Gari district, an area mostly inhabited by migrants from the southern Christian Igbo ethnic group,” according to Bloomberg. The blasts were large enough to destroy five buses.
While no group has claimed credit for the attack, it was likely carried out by Boko Haram or Ansar al-Muslimeen in the Land of Black Africans (which is also known as Ansaru), a splinter faction that recently executed seven foreign hostages. Both groups are known to have ties to al Qaeda, and support jihadist operations in neighboring Mali. Documents seized at Osama bin Laden’s compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan showed that top-level Boko Haram leaders have been in touch with al Qaeda, according to The Guardian. Boko Haram is known to receive support from al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb and from Shabaab, an al Qaeda affiliate in East Africa.
The suicide attack in Kano is the first recorded in Nigeria so far this year. Last year, Boko Haram conducted 20 suicide attacks in Nigeria, according to a tally by The Long War Journal. The last attack took place on Dec. 22, 2012, when suicide bombers targeted mobile telecommunications firms in the country.
Christians have been a primary target for Boko Haram suicide attacks. In early 2012, Boko Haram stated that it seeks “to eradicate Christians” from areas in Nigeria. The group has repeatedly targeted Christians at churches, especially on religious holidays, in order to kill as many Christians as possible.
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