Monday, April 30, 2012

11 killed as suicide bomber hits police convoy in Taraba

A bomb blast struck a police chief's convoy in eastern Nigeria on Monday, killing 11 people, a witness and an official said, a day after attacks in other areas killed at least 19.

No group immediately claimed responsibility for the bombing in the town of Jalingo but Islamist sect Boko Haram, which wants to carve an Islamic state out of Nigeria, has been blamed for many such previous attacks.

A string of bombings and shootings in the last five days has dampened hopes that arrests and killings of Boko Haram members by the military in recent weeks had stemmed its ability to carry out large-scale attacks in Africa's largest oil producer.

Jalingo is the capital of Taraba state, which borders Cameroon and had previously been spared the insurgency plaguing Nigeria's north.

"At least 11 people were killed and 22 people injured near police state headquarters Jalingo at 0830 (0730 GMT) when the police commissioner was on his way to office," said Ahmed Bello, a local Nigeria Red Cross official.

He said the blast happened between the state government finance office and the police headquarters.

Abubakar Moyoyo, a Jalingo businessman, told Reuters by phone he had seen 11 dead bodies at the scene.

The police commissioner, Mamman Sule, said his team were investigating whether he was the target of the attack. He confirmed three deaths and said the windscreen of his car had been shattered by the blast.

Nigerian police are often cautious over death tolls until official figures are agreed with senior officers in Abuja.

In the past year, Boko Haram has tried to extend its reach beyond its northeastern heartland, mounting attacks in and around the capital Abuja. The Jalingo strike followed two attacks on Christian worshippers in other parts of the country on Sunday that killed at least 19 people.


Related stories: Boko Haram attack church at Kano University - 20 confirmed dead 

Boko Haram claim responsibility for This Day offices bombing

Boko Haram claims responsibility for UN bombing

Video - Who are Nigeria's Boko Haram? 

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