Twin Attacks in Northeastern NigeriaDecember 23, 2014 in Nigeria
At least twenty-six people have been killed in attacks that were carried out in two major cities in northern Nigeria on Monday.
According to officials and eyewitnesses, the first attack occurred at the Dukku motor park on the outskirts of Gombe city, capital of Gombe state, at roughly 10:50 AM (0950 GMT). The explosion went off as people were boarding a nearby bus. At least twenty people were killed in that attack. Authorities have indicated that the bomb had been planted near a bus that was waiting to fill up. On the ground sources reported that shortly after the attack, a crowd had formed around the bus station, with several locals throwing stones at the security services. Anger has risen across northern Nigeria amidst growing complaints that the security services have repeatedly failed to contain the on-going violence.
The second explosion occurred late afternoon at a market in Bauchi city, the capital of Bauchi state. The attack occurred at roughly 5:00 PM (1600 GMT) however officials have not confirmed that a bomb was responsible. At least six people were killed. Authorities have warned that the death toll from both attacks is likely to rise in the coming days. No group has claimed responsibility for the two attacks however both targeted cities have been previously hit by Boko Haram. The militant group has also in the past claimed a number of attacks at bus stations, often targeting people who are heading to Nigeria’s mainly Christian south.
The attacks come in the wake of a new video released, depicting dozens of people being executed at a school dormitory. In the newly released video, images are shown of people being made to lay face down before being shot dead. There is currently no independent confirmation that Boko Haram is behind this video and it remains unclear where or when it was made however the video bears the militant group’s insignia and shows gun-wielding men chanting “Allah is great” and speaking in the Kanuri language that is associated with the group’s fighters. Boko Haram militants are also known to often target educational establishments.
Violence in the northeastern region of Nigeria is escalating ahead of the holiday season and the 14 February 2015 presidential elections, with many concerned that voting will be impossible in large parts of the region. Over the past several months, the situation in northeastern Nigeria has been worsening however Nigerian authorities appear to be ignoring the situation on the ground. President Goodluck Jonathan, who is running for a second term in office, has on several occasions claimed that Boko Haram’s defeat was imminent, even as the violence has continued to escalate. Last week’s kidnapping of 185 people, who were taken on 14 December from the town of Gumsuri in Borno state has highlighted the severity of the crisis and recalled the kidnapping of more than 200 schoolgirls from a school in the town of Chibok in April. At the time, President Jonathan vowed that such a mass abduction would not happen again.