Islamist insurgents kill over 178 in Nigeria's Kano


KANO: January 22, 2012. (Reuters) Gun and bomb attacks by Islamist insurgents in the northern Nigerian city of Kano last week killed at least 178 people, a hospital doctor said on Sunday, underscoring the challenge President Goodluck Jonathan faces t

A coordinated series of bomb blasts and shooting sprees mostly targeting police stations Friday sent panicked residents of Nigeria's second biggest city of more than 10 million people running for cover. The scale of the carnage makes this by far the deadliest strike claimed by Boko Haram, a shadowy Islamist sect that started out as a clerical movement opposed to western education but has become the biggest security menace facing Africa's top oil producer. "We have 178 people killed in the two main hospitals," the senior doctor in Kano's Murtala Mohammed hospital said following Friday's attacks, citing records from his own and the other main hospital of Nasarawa. "There could be more, because some bodies have not yet come in and others were collected early." The streets were quiet Sunday in Kano, a vast metropolis of wide paved highways, normally buzzing with motorbikes, and sandy alleyways where hawkers sell grilled meat and donkeys pull carts heaped with fruit and vegetables. Churches, which would usually be filled with worshippers in the religiously mixed city, were largely empty. Jonathan, a Christian from the south, travelled to Kano on Sunday, visiting hospitals to speak to victims. "Our coming today is to express our condolence to the good people of Kano over the dastardly acts," Jonathan said at the palace of the Emir, the city's Muslim figurehead. "Those causing havoc will never succeed ... The federal government will not rest until the perpetrators are brought to book. We will not rest until these terrorist are wiped out," said Jonathan, wearing a traditional northern Nigerian kaftan and hat. Boko Haram has been blamed for killing hundreds of people in increasingly sophisticated bombings and shootings, mostly targeting security forces, establishment figures and more recently Christians, in the country of 160 million people split roughly evenly between them and Muslims.

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