Nigerian police foil Boko Haram attack


Soldiers wait at the airport near Kano on Sunday for the arrival of Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan who was on a one-day visit to the northern Nigerian city where nearly 200 people were killed in explosions and shootings on January 20.



Nigerian authorities claim to have averted an attack on the northern city of Kano, three days after bomb blasts killed 185 people, according to the Associated Press.

Nigerian police say they recovered hundreds of explosive devises and 10 car bombs in the same area that was attacked last week.

Nigerian authorities Monday also released a more detailed account of Friday’s deadly attacks, for which Islamic militant group Boko Haram quickly claimed credit.

State Police Commissioner Ibrahim Idris said the bombers were speaking in accents and languages not usually heard in Nigeria’s second largest city, according the AP. The attack on police stations, immigration and security offices killed 150 civilians and 32 police officers, including three members of the secret police. The bomb blasts also killed two immigration officers and one customs official.

Boko Haram, which means, “Western education is a sacrilege,” is a Taliban-like militant group, fighting to implement Shariah law in Nigeria. The group is believed to have killed hundreds of people this year alone. In 2011, Boko Haram killed more than 500 people, including dozens on Christmas Day in church bombings.

Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan has vowed to tighten security in order to thwart the group that some fear could ignite another civil war.

In the late 1960s, the Nigerian civil war left about a million people dead, and many more homeless. Early this month, Nigerian literary icons, Wole Soyinka, Chinua Achebe and J.P. Clark issued a joint statement, calling for government action. The statement, posted on the Information Nigeria website reads:

“The greatest threat to nationhood since the Nigerian Civil War has been gloatingly launched, and with a daily toll of casualties of the innocent. We call upon the Nigerian government to intensify its obligations to protect the citizenry it claims to govern.”

Other analysts say Boko Haram cannot be crushed by security measures alone. Rights Activist Damian Ugwu told Voice of America that the bulk of the group's supporters are not Islamic extremists, but unemployed youth, angered by the inequitable distribution of wealth in Nigeria. Although it is Africa’s biggest oil exporter, almost all Nigerian people live off of less than $2 a day. Ugwu said the violence in Nigeria is about poverty and politics, not religion:

“I see Boko Haram as the end result of manifestation of bad policies and impunity in Nigeria. For me it is a society where the wealth of the country is being cornered by the elite who do not care what happens to the rest of the country. You are bound to see a lot of people who are angry with the system.”