Bomb blasts in Nigeria after inauguration of President, Governors


Nigeria hit by multiple blasts after inaugurationBomb blasts in Nigeria after inauguration of President, Governors

By Shehu Saulawa/Associated Press

Bauchi, Nigeria: Multiple blasts rocked Nigeria’s restive Muslim north and a city near the capital (Abuja) following the inauguration of the country’s southern Christian president, officials said Monday (May 30, 2011).

The most powerful of the blasts tore through a bar in a military barracks in the northern city of Bauchi on Sunday, killing 15 people just hours after the swearing-in ceremony, said an official who participated in the rescue efforts.

Bauchi state police chief Mohammed Indabawa said Sunday’s blast in the city of Bauchi hit an outdoor bar at about 8 p.m., just hours after the inauguration of President Goodluck Jonathan in Nigeria’s capital of Abuja.

Indabawa said 10 people were killed, but the official who helped emergency workers take victims to the hospital and to the mortuary said 15 people were killed and 35 injured. He said he didn’t want his name used because the military has said that this is a military affair.

An Associated Press writer who was about 1,300 feet (400 meters) from the Shadawanka Barracks when the blasts went off said he heard three consecutive loud noises at two- to five-minute intervals.

The multiple blasts illustrate the challenges facing Jonathan. The southerner was sworn in Sunday for a full four-year term and is now faced with the task of uniting a country that saw deadly postelection violence despite what observers called the fairest vote in more than a decade.

A spokesman for the National Emergency Management Agency, Yushau Shuaib, said stringent security measures had been taken to prevent such attacks on inauguration day.

“Telecommunications operators blocked service in Abuja yesterday and government took so many other measures to prevent this, but it is unfortunate that this still happened,” he said. “The Agency moved in quickly, otherwise this would have been even worse.”

One bomb went off Sunday at a beer garden in Zuba, near Nigeria’s capital, killing two people and wounding at least 11, Shuaib said.

Another explosion in the northern city of Zaria on Sunday also targeted a bar hours after the inauguration, police spokesman Aminu Lawal said. He said police were still looking into how many may have been wounded in that blast.

And on Monday, two teenagers were injured after stepping on explosives in Zaria, Lawal said.

In the northeast city of Maiduguri, a bomb targeted on Monday an army patrol vehicle, Lt. Abubakar Abdullahi said, adding that there were no casualties and five arrests were made after the incident.

No one has claimed responsibility for any of the blasts.

“For now we are trying to gather intelligence on the perpetrators, make sure the victims are attended to, and investigate the matter,” national police spokesman Olusola Amore said of the blasts around the country.

The nation of 150 million people with more than 150 ethnic groups is broadly divided between the Christian-dominated south and the Muslim north. Postelection violence spread quickly across northern states after early results showed that Jonathan, a Christian from the south, was winning.

Many northerners believed someone from their region should be the next leader after the Muslim president died in office. Late President Yar’Adua had been expected to rule for another term, but his death left the presidency in the hands of a southerner. An unwritten agreement in the ruling party calls for its presidential candidates to rotate between the country’s Christian south and Muslim north.

Bauchi city has a history of sectarian violence and was a scene of rioting and destruction after the April elections.

Bauchi is also a stronghold of a radical Muslim sect locally known as Boko Haram. Its members are accused of a rash of killings in the area in recent months which have targeted police officers, soldiers and political and spiritual leaders.

Boko Haram, which means “Western education is sacrilege” in the Hausa language, has asked pushed for the implementation of Sharia law in northern states.

Authorities blame the group for an explosion at a hotel in April that killed three people and wounded 14 others in Maiduguri, a city close to Bauchi, only days before the state’s gubernatorial election.

Tensions in Nigeria are fueled by poverty and unemployment in a country where an unreliable power supply has led to the closure of factories and the loss of tens of thousands of jobs in the textile industry alone over the last few years, especially in the Muslim north. (Associated Press writer Njadvara Musa in Maiduguri, Nigeria and Yinka Ibukun in Lagos, Nigeria and Ibrahim Garba in Kano, Nigeria contributed to this report).


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  1. The bomb blast was an off-course after-event meant to give a bad name to a dog to hang it on the surface. But there may be something more to it. The simple truth is that it was masterminded by the enemies of Nigeria against the wishes of Nigerians.


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