Monday, April 14, 2014

Nigeria: IED Detonation Kills 71, Injures 124 at Bus Station Near Abuja, President Points at Boko Haram

According to Reuters, a morning rush-hour IED killed at least 71 people at a Nigerian bus station on the outskirts of Abuja on Monday morning (April 14),  raising concerns about the spread of an Islamist insurgency after the deadliest ever attack on Abuja.

President Goodluck Jonathan pointed at the Islamic terrorist group, Boko Haram, even though the deadly group has not claimed responsibility for the mass-casualty attack.

Security experts suspect the explosion was inside a vehicle, said Air Commodore Charles Otegbade, director of search and rescue operations. 

The bus station, eight kilometers (five miles) southwest of central Abuja, serves Nyanya, a poor, ethnically and religiously mixed satellite town where many residents work in the capital.

The attack underscored the vulnerability of Nigeria's federal capital, built in the 1980s in the geographic center of the country to replace coastal Lagos as the seat of government for what is now Africa's biggest economy and top oil producer.

Boko Haram militants are increasingly targeting civilians they accuse of collaborating with the government or security forces.

COMMENT: Boko Haram since its emergence in 2011, has embraced its objective of establishing sharia law throughout Nigeria.

A Christmas Day bombing of a church in Madalla, on the outskirts of Abuja, killed 37 people in 2011, although the planner is now behind bars.

Boko Haram also claimed responsibility for a bomb attack on the United Nations' Nigeria headquarters that killed 24 people on August 26, 2011.

Boko Haram, which in the Hausa language of largely Muslim northern Nigeria means broadly "Western education is sinful," is modeled on the Taliban movement in Afghanistan and has forged ties with al-Qaeda-linked militants in the Sahara.

Sixteen buses were torched in Monday's blast and another 24 damaged, a police spokesperson emphasized.