Saturday, January 21, 2012

Nigerian city of Kano rocked by explosions and gunfire

Guardian (UK)
20 January 2012-01-21

Eyewitnesses describe panic and pandemonium on streets as residents ran for cover and smoke rose into sky

David Smith in Johannesburg

At least seven people were killed as explosions and gunfire rocked the biggest city in Nigeria's mainly Muslim north after Friday prayers yesterday. The radical Islamist sect Boko Haram has claimed responsibility for the attacks.

Witnesses described panic and pandemonium on the streets of Kano as residents ran for cover and plumes of smoke rose into the sky.

One explosion ripped through the city's police headquarters soon after 5pm, causing an unknown number of casualties.

Police kept reporters away from the building, which had its roof torn off and windows blown out by the explosion.

Witnesses said a bomber had pulled up to the building on a motorbike before getting off and running at it, holding a bag. "We tried to stop him, but he ran in forcefully with his bag," said a policeman at the scene. "All of a sudden there was a blast. You can see for yourself the building is damaged."

An Associated Press reporter said the explosion had been powerful enough to shake his car, which was several miles away.

Two other police stations and an immigration office in Kano, Nigeria's second-biggest city, were also hit, according to a BBC report. The explosions were followed by the sound of gunshots.

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