July 28, 2014

Suicide bomber targeted women – witnesses

KATSINA (AFP) – A female suicide bomber killed several people in Kano on Monday, witnesses said, after weekend violence blamed on Boko Haram forced authorities to cancel festivities marking a major Muslim holiday.

Multiple witnesses said the attacker targeted women who had lined up in the Hotoro area on the outskirts of Kano to buy kerosene.

The queue was long, said area vendor Habibu Ali, because the widely-used cooking gas is often in short supply in Kano and when a new shipment comes in women typically rush to their local vendor.

“A suicide bomber who was milling in the crowd set off explosives concealed under her dress,” Ali told AFP. “Several people, mostly woman, were killed,” he added.

Resident Shehu Mudi confirmed Ali’s account and said the area had been cordoned off by the security forces.

“I could see burning plastic jerry cans and ambulances and medical workers putting bodies inside,” he told AFP.

Kano police spokesman Musa Magaji Majia told AFP he was on his way to the scene, declining further comment.

The latest unrest came after Muslim leaders in Kano, Nigeria’s second largest city, cancelled celebrations set for Monday to mark the end of the Ramadan amid escalating Boko Haram violence.

At least five people were killed Sunday and eight were injured in a bomb attack on a Catholic church in the mainly Christian Sabon Gari area.

Also on Sunday, a woman suicide bomber blew herself up outside a university after police prevented her from carrying out an attack, injuring five officers, police said.

Boko Haram has killed thousands of people, including more than 2,000 civilians this year, since the extremist group started a bloody insurgency to establish an Islamic state in the mainly Muslim north of Nigeria in 2009.

The Islamist group has also stepped up raids into northern Cameroon in recent weeks, murdering and stealing with impunity despite military efforts to clamp down on its insurgency.

Suspected Boko Haram militants kidnapped the wife of a senior Cameroonian minister and a traditional leader in attacks in the far north of the country that left at least 15 dead on Sunday.