Saturday, January 21, 2012

New Zealand Urges Citizens to Avoid Non-Essential Travel to Nigeria

Effective January 22, 2012, New Zealand’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT) is advising its citizens not to engage in non-essential travel to Nigeria, where a series of bomb attacks and gunfights killed 143 people in Kano, the second-largest city, on January 20. The attacks on Friday were the deadliest coordinated strike claimed by Islamic extremist group, Boko Haram, to date, in a country that has been rocked by violence.

The sect has killed hundreds in the north of Africa's most populous nation in the last year. The attacks prompted the government to announce a dusk-to-dawn curfew in the city of more than 10 million people. The group has also claimed responsibility for the attacks.

COMMENT: Nigerian police have reported that eight buildings were attacked, including police headquarters, three police stations, the headquarters of the secret services and the immigration head office. Exchanges of gunfire between police and terrorist went on into the night.

Boko Haram became active around 2003 in the northeast state of Borno but its attacks have spread into other northern states, including Yobe, Kano, Bauchi and Gombe. A bomb attack on a Catholic church just outside the capital Abuja on Christmas Day, claimed by Boko Haram, killed 37 people and wounded 57.

Last August, a suicide bomber blew up the UN headquarters in Abuja, the capital, killing at least 24 people.

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