A radical Islamist faction known as Boko Haram has claimed responsibility for recent attacks in Nigeria’s capital, which represent the most coordinated and wide-ranging assault yet in an increasingly bloody sectarian fight with Nigeria’s weak central government. The sect, which wants the strict implementation of Shariah law, said it would carry out more attacks.
At least 67 people died in a wave of bombings and shootings carried out in northeast Nigeria on Friday and overnight, officials said Saturday, as frightened mourners left their homes to begin burying their dead. On Friday, a car bomb exploded outside a three-story building used as a military office and barracks in Damaturu, the capital of Yobe State, said Ibrahim Bulama, a Nigerian Red Cross official.
Gunmen then went through the town, blowing up a bank branch and attacking at least three police stations and some churches, leaving them in rubble, he said. Gunfire continued through the night and gunmen raided the village of Potiskum, witnesses said, leaving at least two people dead there.
Recently, the United States Mission in Nigeria has warned its citizens of possible terror attacks on prominent hotels in Abuja. The US mission, in a statement, warned its citizens to avoid the hotels during the current Sallah celebrations, as the Boko Haram sect was likely to strike again. "All US Government personnel have been instructed to avoid these locations and previously scheduled events have been cancelled," the statement said, adding that American citizens should expect additional police and military checkpoints, additional security and possible road blocks in Abuja "for the foreseeable future".
The statement did not give additional information regarding the timing of the possible attacks. The hotels named by the US mission were Nicon Luxury, the Sheraton and the Trancorp Hilton. Boko Haram, whose name means “Western education is sacrilege” in the local Hausa language, have staged several targeted assassinations and bombings around Nigeria’s north in the past few months.