MS Risk Blog

Ramadan Festivities Marred as Boko Haram Carry Out a Series of Deadly Bombings

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Two separate blasts on Monday, carried out by female suicide bombers, have killed at least three people and injured thirteen in Nigeria’s Kano city, bringing the number of attacks this week in the area to five and overshadowing festivities marking the end of Ramadan.

Kano police spokesman Musa Magaji Majia confirmed both attacks, stating that the first blast went off at roughly 10:30 AM (0930 GMT). Officials later disclosed that the attacker had strapped herself with a “low-caliber explosive, which is why the casualties were minimal,” adding that she had targeted women who had lined up to purchase kerosene at a petrol station in the Hotor area, which is located on the outskirts of Kano, Nigeria’s second largest city. Eyewitnesses reported that at the time of the blast, the queue was long as the widely-used cooking gas is often in short supply, noting that when a new shipment arrives, women typically rush to their local vendor to purchase it.

Roughly three hours after the first attack, another female suicide bomber approached the Trade Fair Complex, located in the key commercial district of the city. According to Kano state police chief Aderele Shinaba, the woman was stopped at the gate and blew herself up, adding “it was the same modus operandi…six people were injured, including two police officers.” The attack occurred near the brand new Ado Bayero Shopping Center, which opened in March. The launch of the modern shopping complex, which also includes the only northern Nigerian outlet of South African retailer Shoprite, was seen as a sign that the city was still attractive to investors despite the on going violence.

The latest attacks come after a weekend of violence that has forced authorities to cancel festivities marking the end of Ramadan and has given further indication that Boko Haram militants are seeking to increase their attacks outside of their stronghold, and are likely now focusing on attacking key urban centers like Kano.

On Sunday, police officials confirmed that a female suicide bomber blew herself up outside a university in Kano after police officers had prevented her from carrying out an attack. According to police spokesman Frank Mba, “a female suicide bomber was isolated as she was walking towards the gate of the university.” The attack occurred when the police officers were about to ask a female colleague to body search the woman when she detonated the bomb, killing herself and injuring five others.

At least five people were killed and eight others injured Sunday when a bomb erupted in front of a Catholic church located in a mainly Christian neighborhood of Kano. According to police spokesman Franc Mba, the attack occurred shortly after mass ended at the Saint Charles Catholic church, adding that police investigators “…suspect an IED was thrown from across the road,” at the church, which is located in Kano’s Sabon Gari district. While no group has claimed responsibility for the attack, the district of Sabon Gari has previously suffered a number of attacks carried out by Boko Haram.

During the early morning hours on Saturday, suspected Boko Haram militants targeted the village of Sigal, located just seven kilometers (4 miles) from Rann, which was attacked the day before. According to local sources, the militants raided the village and abducted a police officer from his house.

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