Nigeria Says Militant Camps Raided as Abuja Blast Suspect KilledElisha Bala-Gbogbo and Daniel Magnowski
Nigeria’s Ministry of Defence said more than 100 “terrorists” were killed in raids on two camps, as the suspect in a bomb attack on an Abuja shopping center was killed while fleeing the scene.
One of the camps raided was near the Niger border, and was stormed by troops from the Multinational Joint Task Force, and the other was in Miyanti and Bulungu, with more than 50 people killed at each location, the ministry said in an e-mailed statement late yesterday. It said two members of the multinational force were also killed.
The blast on June 25 near the Emab Plaza in Abuja, the capital, killed 21 people and wounded 52 people, according to officials. The ministry said yesterday that more explosives were found in a bag dropped by one of the attackers, who was shot dead while fleeing.
No group has claimed responsibility. Nigerian security forces are struggling to contain a violent campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram to impose Islamic law on Africa’s biggest oil producer. The group killed at least 75 people in an Abuja suburb in April in the capital’s deadliest bombing.
A week before the latest attack, government spokesman Mike Omeri said intelligence reports indicated militants planned to hijack gasoline trucks and use them to carry improvised explosives to the capital.
Boko Haram, which means “western education is a sin” in the Hausa language, has focused its five-year insurgency on the north and the capital, hundreds of miles from the coastal oil and gas fields and the southern commercial capital, Lagos.
The militants drew international outrage when they kidnapped more than 200 schoolgirls from the town of Chibok in the northeastern state of Borno in April. Most of the girls are still missing, and countries including the U.S. and U.K. are aiding the search and rescue effort.
Nigeria, a country of 170 million people with Africa’s biggest economy, is roughly divided between a mainly Muslim north and predominately Christian south. It attracted a record $21.3 billion in foreign direct investment last year, according to the national statistics agency.
President Goodluck Jonathan has said Boko Haram is part of al-Qaeda and poses a threat to countries throughout the region. Jonathan cut short his visit to Equatorial Guinea for an African Union meeting to return to Abuja yesterday, his spokesman Reuben Abati said in a text message.
His administration has enforced emergency rule in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa, the three states where Boko Haram is most active, since May 2013.
Jonathan hasn’t said if he will seek re-election in February.