Tuesday, 1 July 2014

Dozens killed in north Nigeria as Boko Haram car bomb explodes in marketplace

Dozens killed after Boko Haram car bomb attack in north-eastern city of Maiduguri, the birthplace of Islamist militant group. In May 2013 the Nigerian president announced a state of emergency in three north-eastern states, and the Nigerian military deployed tens of thousands of troops to the area in an effort to fight Boko Haram. That campaign has been a complete failure. The extremists have been attacking with more frequency and deadliness in recent months, defying assurances by Nigerian security forces and government that they were getting the situation under control.

Dozens of people were killed earlier today (Tuesday) when a car bomb exploded in a market in Nigeria’s north-eastern city of Maiduguri.

Maiduguri is the birth place of the Islamist Boko Haram group. Boko Haram has launched a series of deadly car bombs in public places in cities in north Nigeria, killing hundreds.

Last week, Boko Haram’s explosions targeted the biggest shopping center in Nigeria’s capital, Abuja, killing twenty-four people; a medical college in northern Kano city, killing at least eight; and a hotel brothel in north-east Bauchi city which killed ten.

Yesterday (Monday) night, the Nigerians military announced it had arrested a businessman who, the military says, had “participated actively” in the mass abduction of more than 200 schoolgirls in April.

The Guardian reports that the explosives in Tuesday’s attack were hidden under a load of charcoal in a van.

Witnesses said they saw about fifty bodies, and also said that the death toll could have been worse but fewer traders and customers were around than normal because most people stayed up late to eat during Ramadan.

Boko Haram has adopted a two-pronged strategy this year of bombings in urban areas and scorched-earth attacks in north-eastern villages, where people have been gunned down and their homes burned.

In May 2013 the Nigerian president announced a state of emergency in three north-eastern states, and the Nigerian military deployed tens of thousands of troops to the area in an effort to fight Boko Haram. That campaign has been a complete failure. The corrupt and inept Nigerian military proved unwilling to engage the Islamists, and those units willing to do so were too poorly trained and equipped to be a match for the dedicated Boko Haram fighters. Observers say that the Nigerian military has, in fact, exacerbated the situation by adopting heavy-handed tactics which resulted in the death of hundreds of civilians – in fact, the military has killed many more civilians than Boko Haram militants.

On Sunday, suspected extremists opened fire on worshippers in four churches in a north-eastern village and torched the buildings. At least thirty people were reported killed.

The Guardian notes that the extremists have been attacking with more frequency and deadliness in recent months, defying assurances by Nigerian security forces and government that they were getting the situation under control.

Culled from Homeland Security News Wire

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