KATSINA: A female suicide bomber killed three people and injured seven others on Monday in Nigeria’s Kano city, after weekend violence blamed on Boko Haram forced authorities to cancel festivities marking a major Muslim holiday.
The attacker with explosives concealed under her clothes targeted women who had lined up to buy kerosene at a petrol station in the Hotoro area on the outskirts of Kano, Nigeria’s second largest city.
The queue was long, said area vendor Habibu Ali, because the widely-used cooking gas is often in short supply and when a new shipment comes in women typically rush to their local vendor. Kano police spokesman Musa Magaji Majia told AFP 10 victims were rushed to the hospital after the blast that went off at roughly 10:30 am (0930 GMT) and that three had died.
“The explosive went off in the midst of people who had queued up to buy kerosene,” Majia said.
The police spokesman said the attacker had strapped herself with “a low-calibre explosive, which is why the casualties were minimal.”
Hotoro area resident Shehu Mudi said he saw burning jerry cans and ambulances carting away victims minutes after the blast.
While there was no immediate claim of responsibility, Boko Haram, the extremist group blamed for killing more than 10,000 people in Nigeria since 2009, was likely to be held responsible for the latest bloodshed.
Kano has been hard by the Islamist uprising, although attacks had declined in the early part of this year.
Monday’s bombing which followed two separate blasts on Sunday gave further indication that the Islamists are seeking to increase attacks outside their stronghold in the remote northeast by sowing chaos in key urban centres like Kano.
At least five people were killed Sunday and eight were injured in a bomb attack on a Catholic church in the mainly Christian Sabon Gari area of the city. A woman suicide bomber also blew herself up outside a university after police prevented her from carrying out an attack, injuring five officers.
The newly-named top religious leader in Kano, ex-central bank governor Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, cancelled Eid celebrations to mark the end of Ramadan because of the Sunday violence.
Boko Haram, fighting to create an Islamic state in Nigeria’s mostly Muslim north, is widely viewed by experts as having a largely domestic agenda.
But neighbouring Cameroon has seen a spike in unrest in recent months, raising concern that the insurgency may spread beyond Nigeria’s borders, creating a wider crisis which the region’s troubled militaries are ill-equiped to contain.
Two attacks in northern Cameroon on Sunday killed at least 15 people, with the wife of the country’s deputy prime minister Amadou Ali among a dozen people reportedly kidnapped, according to security sources.
The dramatic raids in the Kolofata region — a haven for Boko Haram activities — follow the deaths of several Cameroonian soldiers and gendarmes in two attacks blamed on the militants on Thursday and Friday.
Nigeria says Boko Haram fighters typically escape capture by fleeing across Cameroon’s porous borders. Relations between Nigeria and Cameroon have long been troubled, including a bitter dispute over the Bakassi region in the south, but the neighbours have vowed to work together more closely to combat Boko Haram.
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