Thursday, 3 May 2012

Nigeria: Boko Haram claims responsibility for This Day bombings

Islamist group Boko Haram has claimed responsibility for last week's bombings of This Day newspaper offices. The group posted a video on YouTube, saying it was responsible for the attacks. It is estimated that seven people died during the bombings, one of which took place in Abuja and the other in the northern city of Kaduna.

A voice-over on the film, which shows the suicide blast in Abuja, threatens further attacks against Nigerian media as retribution for crimes against Islam. In the video, Boko Haram said that This Day newspaper was attacked in relation to the Miss World beauty pageant held in Kaduna in November 2002. Riots ensued after an article mentioning the beauty contest and the Prophet Muhammad was deemed blasphemous.

In the last 20 months, Boko Haram militants have targeted government buildings, churches and other social institutions, killing innocent civilians. The group is predominantly active in northern Nigeria.

Last year, the group also attacked UN headquarters in Abuja. Boko Haram aims to overthrow the government and establish Islamic law across Nigeria. In the north-eastern city of Maiduguri, where the militants have their headquarters, residents have named the group Boko Haram, meaning “Western education is forbidden".

The BBC quotes the voice-over from the video as saying: “We attacked This Day because we will never forget or forgive anyone who abused our prophet." The message adds that Boko Haram will also target several other Nigerian newspapers and some foreign broadcasters, warning others that they will be "on the verge of joining this list if they are not careful". The group also claimed other recent attacks in the northern city of Kano and north-eastern Gombe state. It said they would continue to attack universities as "the government has now resorted to arresting our wives and children and also demolishing our houses".

Sources: BBC News, Reuters, Bloomberg

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

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