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150 killed, Indians injured in Nigerian terror attacks

January 21, 2012 23:33 IST

A series of coordinated bomb and gun attacks by a radical Islamist sect targeting police stations and the headquarters of Nigeria's secret police in northern city of Kano on Saturday killed nearly 150 people and injured several others, including Indians.

Rabiu Kwankwaso, the governor of Kano State, imposed a 24-hour curfew after the bodies, including those of several policemen, were found scattered all over the state capital, Nigeria's second-largest city, which exploded into violence since Friday.

Authorities said militants, some of whom came as suicide bombers, targeted four police stations, the headquarters of the country's secret police, State Security Srvice in Kano state and an immigration office.

A hospital worker on condition of anonymity said 126 dead bodies were piled up in a mortuary at Murtala Muhammed Specialist Hospital in Kano. However, an eyewitness Emmanuel Iffer told PTI on phone that he was able to count some 140 bodies littered along the streets of the city which is the most populated in the north.

Most of the bodies seen along the roads were those of military men, according to Iffer.

An official of the Red Cross, Nwakpa O Nwakpa said his aid agency is still collecting the bodies and injured and taking them to emergency units of some hospitals or mortuaries.

The police are yet to come up with an official record and there was no response when calls were made to the spokesman, Olusola Amore. However, senior police sources expressed fears that the number could go upto 150 as many of the injured were in critical condition.

A doctor at Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital said some of the injured persons were foreigners, including Indians who live close to the SSS headquarters, according to him.

Abul Qaqa, a spokesman of Islamic radical group Boko Haram, claimed responsibility for the attacks.

Nigerian troops were seen putting up check points in various parts of the city amid fears of more attacks in Kano, a city of more than 9 million people that remains an important political and religious hub in Nigeria's Muslim north.

Residents, who heard the sound of the bombs with smokes billowing out of the police building, scampered for safety.

"Some policemen who survived the attack were seen at the premises of Zone one police station dirtied with dusts from the rubble while the dismembered body of a suicide bomber lay at the premises," a witness told PTI.

The bombings, which numbered up to twenty, caused pandemonium in the metropolis, were followed by shoot-outs between the militants and security agencies especially at the eastern Bompai district of the commercial city.

A patrol vehicle was accosted by a suicide bomber who tried to jump on them but was fired at by the officers.

A reporter for a local television, Channels, Enenche Akogwu was among those killed in the attacks, the station announced.

A media report quoted the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists as saying a news editor for a government-owned radio station called Highland FM was found dead in a stream in the restive central Nigerian city of Jos on Thursday.

Authorities in the oil rich African country are known to downplay death tolls during terror attacks and emergencies.

A police source said he is yet to confirm the nationality of foreigners confirmed dead.

Boko Haram spokesman accused the government of refusing to release members of the group held in various prisons in Kano, triggering the attack.

Boko Haram, whose name means "Western education is sacrilege", has been waging a bloody conflict to install an Islamic government and Sharia rule in the country.

A suicide bomb attack by the radical group at the United Nations headquarters in Abuja in July last year killed 26 people.

Recently, President Goodluck Jonathan imposed curfew in some states of the north because of the activities of the militant group but Kano is not one of them.

The wave of violence by the Boko Haram has raised fears of religious and sectarian conflict in Nigeria since a Christmas day bombing last year that killed at least 40 people in a church and several northern part of the country.

The 150-million Nigeria has both Muslim and Christian population, with Muslims predominant in the north while Christians mostly live in the South.

Image: A man walks through the ruins of a police headquarters hit by a blast in Kano, on Saturday

Photograph: Reuters

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