Conflict & Justice

Nigeria's "bloody Sunday": deadly blast linked to Islamic sect

A bomb blast that ripped through a popular Sunday gathering spot in Nigeria’s troubled northeast, killing at least 10 people, bears the hallmarks of a radical Islamic sect blamed for almost daily killings and a series of explosions in recent months.

Authorities are stepping up security in the face of escalating violence attributed to the group Boko Haram – meaning “Western education is sinful” – reportedly claiming the lives of more than 150 people since the start of the year.

The latest attack on Sunday evening in the city of Maiduguri follows news, as carried in the Sunday Mirror, that spy chiefs warned British Prime Minister David Cameron that al-Qaeda was determined to make Nigeria a base for plotting terror attacks on the West.

The United States and European Union have condemned the violence and Nigeria’s President Goodluck Jonathan last week deployed a joint police and military taskforce to the city to reinforce security.

Sunday evening’s blast killed at least 10 people. The explosion ripped through the “mammy market” beer gardens, a popular cluster of open air pubs and eateries situated by the police barracks.

Hours earlier, a well-known politician was shot dead in the same city, while police sources and residents reported a wave of shootings overnight Saturday that killed nine people, including three retired police officers, AFP reports.

Reuters notes that exactly one week earlier, home-made bombs were thrown at another bar in the city, killing around 25 people in the single most deadly attack so far, with three others killed in a similar strike the following day.

In 2009, Nigerian security forces suppressed an uprising by Boko Haram, destroying their compound and then killing their leader in custody, the BBC reports. However, instead of disappearing, the sect which wants strict Shariah law implemented across the region has regrouped.