Five killed in Kano church bombing

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iol pic afr_NIGERIA-VIOLENCE-_0727_11 Reuters Nigerian security personnel seal the scene of a bomb attack in Kano.

Kano, Nigeria -

Nigeria's northern city of Kano on Sunday cancelled celebrations to mark the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadaan after two bomb attacks blamed on the Islamist group Boko Haram.

At least five people were killed and eight were injured in a bomb attack on a Catholic church in a mainly Christian area of the city, the largest in Nigeria's north, police said.

The attack came shortly after the end of mass at the Saint Charles Catholic church, police spokesman Frank Mba told AFP.

“We suspect an IED (improvised explosive device) that was thrown from across the road” at the church in Kano's Sabon Gari district, which has previously been targeted by Boko Haram, he added.

Also in Kano on Sunday, a woman suicide bomber blew herself up outside a university after police prevented her from carrying out an attack, injuring five officers, Mba said.

“A female suicide bomber was isolated as she was walking towards the gate of the university,” he said, adding that she had hidden the bomb under her “long black hijab”.

“Police on duty isolated her” because she was behaving strangely, and were about to ask a female colleague to frisk the woman when she detonated the bomb, he added.

Police also said they had made safe a car bomb rigged to blow via remote control near a mosque and the home of a prominent Kano sheikh on Saturday.

“The police were alerted by some vigilant residents last night,” said Kano police spokesman Musa Magaji Majia. “Our bomb disposal personnel succeeded in defusing the IED.”

Kano, northern Nigeria's largest city, has been hit by two attacks blamed on Boko Haram in recent months, including a bomb blast at a public health college which killed at least eight last month.

On May 19, a suicide car bomb attack in Sabon Gari left at least four people dead, including a young girl, in the same area where 12 were killed by four strong explosions a year ago.

The worsening violence on Sunday prompted Kano's emir to cancel Eid festivities - marking the end of the holy Muslim month of Ramadaan - which were due to begin next week.

“Given the critical situation we are in, the royal highness (of Kano state, Emir Sanusi Lamido Sanusi) has suspended all festivities associated with the eminence, including the Durbar and other traditional events that are held during the Eid festival,” an aide to the emir, Aminu Ado Bayero, told AFP.

Boko Haram has killed thousands of people, including more than 2 000 civilians this year, since the extremist group started a bloody insurgency to establish an Islamic state in the mainly Muslim north of Nigeria in 2009.

The Islamist group has also stepped up raids into northern Cameroon in recent weeks, murdering and stealing with impunity despite military efforts to clamp down on its insurgency.

Suspected Boko Haram militants kidnapped the wife of a senior Cameroonian minister and a traditional leader in attacks in the far north of the country that left at least six dead on Sunday.

Cameroon responded by sending in warplanes and elite troops from its Rapid Intervention Battalion to stop the fighters after two attacks in Kolofata, close to the Nigerian border, said a regional police source.

Another source close to the local police force, who asked to remain anonymous, said Boko Haram had “kidnapped many people”, adding: “There was the sultan, the wife of the deputy prime minster and several police officers.”

Four civilians and two police officers were killed in the attacks on the residence of Amadou Ali, the deputy prime minster in charge of parliamentary relations, and the sultan of Kolofata, Seiny Boukar Lamine, said the source.

A source close to the sultan's family told AFP that “four people, including the younger brother of the sultan were killed, (while) he, his spouse and children were kidnapped”.

Like other West African countries, Cameroon has beefed up its operations against Boko Haram since the kidnapping of more than 200 Nigerian schoolgirls over three months ago sparked an international outcry. - Sapa-AFP


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