Nigeria suicide bomb threat: Boko Haram sets precedence

By Konye Obaji Ori

Posted on June 20, 2011 13:56

Nigeria has witnessed its first suicide bomber attack. The attack was carried out days after Nigeria’s police chief, Hafiz Ringim, vowed to defeat the the extreme islamist group Boko Haram. Some reports claim that the police chief may have been the target of the attack.

Inspector General Ringim had visited Borno state, where Boko Haram is based, and vowed to eliminate the group within months.

In response to Ringim’s stance the group took action a few days later. According to local reports, a car that had been following closely behind the police chief’s vehicle exploded in the car park just under two minutes after Ringim had arrived for work on Thursday morning.

The suicide bomb attack is not only significant in that it occurred at the heart of Nigeria’s security establishment in the capital city of Abuja, but it also displays the group’s capacity and intent to implement attacks in sensitive areas.

“We are responsible for the bomb attack on the police headquarters in Abuja which was to prove a point to all those who doubt our capability,” a statement from the group read.

Official police report has indicated that six people were killed in the attack, 33 cars had been damaged beyond repair and 40 more had been partially damaged by the explosion.

Boko Haram accuses Nigeria’s government of being corrupted by Western education, ideas and science and wants to overthrow the state and impose Islamic law on the country. The group’s extremist ideology and uncompromisingly homicidal methods place it beyond the range of reason and dialogue, analysts have argued.

But whilst the group has killed dozens of police officers, politicians and civilians including Christian preachers and clerics from other Muslim groups, Thursday’s attack is reported to be its first suicide-bomb attack.

“A bold and deliberate statement on their part to announce that they have come to stay,” Nigeria’s Sunday Trust cites criminologist and security consultant Innocent Chukwuma as saying.

Likely targets

Local experts have suggested that Boko Haram is likely to seek maximal yield targets with potentially high casualties; sensational bombings and high profile assassinations.

In a message addressed to journalists last week, and reported by local media, the terror group claimed that some of its members had been trained in Somalia and warned that “very soon ” they “will wage Jihad on the enemies of God and His Prophet”.

Like the national police headquarters, the group’s targets are likely to include sites of symbolic national value.

Salem Consulting Group’s Chris Ngwodo, based on a recently released Nigeria Education Data Survey which stated that 83 percent of children aged 5-16 in the northeast (Boko Haram territory) cannot read at all and that the region accounts for the country’s highest level of innumeracy at 73 percent, argues that until the sordid material conditions that gestate violence are seriously addressed there will be yet more homicidal zealots dominating the news headlines.

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