[ 2012-01-28 ]
Nigeria gunmen attack police post in flashpoint city
KANO, Nigeria (AFP) - Gunmen in Nigeria have
killed at least one officer after opening fire on
a police station in the city of Kano, where
attacks claimed by Islamists left 185 dead last
week, police said Saturday.
Security forces in Africa's most populous nation
and top oil producer are struggling to contain the
menace by the Boko Haram Islamist sect that has
used increasingly bold tactics to kill more than
200 people this year alone.
The latest attack in Kano, the economic heart of
Nigeria's mainly Muslim north, occurred just
before 7:00 pm (1800 GMT) on Friday, police said
on Saturday, confirming the assault first reported
Gunmen "opened fire on our men and the policemen
on duty fired back leading to a shootout," city
police spokesman Magaji Majia said, adding that
one officer was killed. Witnesses had previously
told AFP two officers had died.
The attack came at the start of a nighttime curfew
that has been in effect in the northern city since
a January 20 assault by Boko Haram killed 185
Kano had previously escaped the worst of Boko
Haram's violence, and the brazen, coordinated
strikes that primarily targeted police stations in
a major city highlighted the group's renewed
Since then in Kano, another police station was
attacked on Tuesday night, with authorities
reporting three people wounded and a German
engineer was kidnapped on the outskirts of the
city on Thursday.
Also on Thursday, a Kano bus station was hit, with
no one reported killed.
The Friday night attack happened in the Mandawari
neighbourhood. Residents said they heard the
gunmen shouting "Allahu Akbar" as they converged
on the police station, travelling on motorcycles
and in an all-terrain vehicle.
The purported head of Boko Haram, Abubakar
Muhammad Shekau, threatened more violence in an
audio recording recently posted on YouTube.
Boko Haram has previously said that it wants to
create an Islamic state in Nigeria's
deeply-impoverished mainly Muslim north, charging
the government with harassing Muslims and raiding
The group was also blamed for coordinated attacks
on Christmas Day, the most deadly at a Catholic
Church near the capital Abuja where at least 44
people were killed, but its victims also include
scores of Muslims.
Top Nigerian politicians have denied that the Boko
Haram insurgency is being fuelled by religious
tensions in a country divided between a mainly
Christian south and mainly Muslim north.
Analysts have however said that such tensions do
exist and are often acute, particularly in
northern Nigeria, and that Boko Haram may be
exploiting them to their advantage, even if the
group's specific aims have long remained unclear.
There has also been much speculation about Boko
Haram's links to foreign Islamist groups,
specifically Al-Qaeda's north African affiliate,
known as Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM).
But some however doubt that the group has such
strong foreign ties and reject claims that Boko
Haram is becoming an Al-Qaeda franchise.
The group launched an uprising in 2009 that was
put down by a brutal military assault.
It went dormant for about a year before
re-emerging in 2010 with renewed strength, and is
now seemingly able to strike at will.
The unprecedented series of attacks blamed on the
group that have hit Kano in recent days has struck
among the city's residents.
"Honestly I went to the mosque in fear," said Isa
Bello, 58, after leaving Friday prayers in a Kano
neighbourhood. "We ardently hope for unity and
understanding between Muslims and Christians in
Source - AFP
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