Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Nigeria: Security developments

Boko Haram members carried out multiple bomb attacks against key military installations in Kaduna State on 7 February. Eyewitness reports state that the first attack occurred at around 11:45 at the 1 st Mechanised Division Headquarters of the Nigerian army. A second blast occurred a few minutes later at around 12:00 near the main gate of the Nigerian Air Force base which houses the military flying school. A third attack occurred at around 12:15 at the Kawo Bridge in the Kaduna metropolis.

Reports state that the attack at the 1 st Mechanised Division was carried out by a suicide bomber in a Toyota Sienna car, apparently loaded with improvised explosive devices (IEDs). Director of Army Public Relations Maj Gen Raphael Isa confirmed the incident, stating that the suicide bomber was dressed in military fatigues but driving a private car. According to Isa, the bomber's attempt to ram the front

gate was repelled by shots from police. The bomb was subsequently detonated but there was only minimal damage, with the suicide bomber being the only fatality. The incident at Kawo Bridge, on the other hand, recorded a number of casualties. None have been reported dead but there were several who sustained varying degrees of injuries and are receiving treatment.

Boko Haram claimed responsibility for the attacks in a telephone interview granted by a spokesman who referred to himself as “the real Abu Qaqa”. It will be recalled that last week, a combined team of the Nigerian Army and the State Security Service (SSS) arrested one Abu Qaqa – the supposed spokesperson of the extremist sect in Kaduna State. Boko Haram denied that the man detained was its spokesperson, though it confirmed that the arrested individual was indeed a member who had been sent to explore the possibility of negotiations with the Federal Government. The SSS continues to insist, however, that the person it has in its custody is the sect's spokesman and that he has been assisting with their investigations.

For more news and expert analysis about Nigeria, please see Nigeria Focus and Nigeria Politics & Security.

© 2012 Menas Associates

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