Nigeria experienced another tragedy Sunday morning as at least 16 people were killed in an attack on a university theatre, where Christians were holding worship services.
Witnesses claim that the attack was carried out by Islamist radical group Boko Haram, who has also been blamed for an Easter day attack in Nigeria last month.
One witness, who wished to remain unidentified, stated:
“I counted at least 15 dead bodies. I think they were being taken to the Amino Kano teaching hospital.”
The witness went on to say that many more were being treated for injuries.
Ikedichi Iweha, an army spokesman, told Reuters that:
“The attack took place in one of the lecture theatres used as a place of worship by Christians. For sure there are casualties but I can’t say how many. The elements came, used explosives and guns to attack them. We have repelled them and cordoned off the area.”
The commissioner stated that:
“By the time we responded, they entered (their) motorcycles and disappeared into the neighborhood.”
Immediately after the attack, police forces and soldiers blocked off the campus, Bayero University. A spokesman for Nigeria’s National Emergency Management Agency, Abubakar Jibril, stated that these forces initially did not allow rescuers to enter the campus. They also turned away journalists from the scene of the explosion.
Although no group has come forward to claim the attack, it mirrors Boko Haram’s method of operation, as the attackers used small explosives, which were packed inside of aluminum pop cans. Boko Haram, in addition to the Easter morning attack, also coordinated and carried out an assault in January, in the city of Kano, which killed more than 185 people.
Boko Haram has begun to wage a growing battle with Nigeria’s central government, which is very weak at this point. They typically use suicide car bombs and rifles to attack places in Nigeria’s northern regions, which are primarily Muslim. These killings, which center around the nation’s capital of Abuja, have resulted in the deaths of over 450 people in this year along, at last count by the Associated Press.