Monday, March 18, 2013 9:40 pm
At least 16 killed in northern Nigeria explosion
By SALISU RABIUAssociated Press
The medic, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he is not authorized to speak to the press, said at least 16 dead and dozens more injured people were brought to the Murtala Muhammad Specialist Hospital after Monday's blast.
The blast occurred Monday evening in Sabon Gari area, a Christian enclave in the predominantly Muslim city of Kano.
It was not clear if there had been one or multiple explosions, said National Emergency Management Agency spokesman Yushau Shuaib. He could not say if the explosion was caused by a bomb or if it was accidental.
However, residents' suspicion fell on the radical Islamic sect, Boko Haram, which has waged a campaign of bombings across Nigeria's north. Top officials also believed the explosion was caused by Islamic extremists.
"The federal government will not be stampeded, for any reason whatsoever, into abandoning its unrelenting war against terrorists in the country," said Nigerian presidential spokesman Reuben Abati in reaction to the Kano blast.
The deadly explosion came hours after an attack blamed on Boko Haram killed a teacher and injured three students in the northeastern Nigerian of Maiduguri, the spiritual home of Boko Haram. Local military spokesman Sagir Musa said in a statement the security forces killed three sect members in a counterattack.
As the extremists' threat grows, the Nigeria government has been unable to stop the killings, even in main centers such as Kano.
Monday's attack comes more than a year after the Jan. 20, 2012 coordinated attacks by extremists on Kano which left more than 150 people dead.
Boko Haram's reach appears to be extending to neighboring countries.
Earlier Monday, a video emerged showing a French family who were kidnapped in Cameroon and who said they were being held by Boko Haram. The family, kidnapped on Feb. 19, includes four children.
President Goodluck Jonathan said in a statement late Monday that "the Nigerian Government will continue to do all that is required to ensure the safety of lives and property, including continued collaboration with local and international partners and stakeholders to check the menace of terrorism."