Kano, Nigeria — Several bombings in Nigeria’s largest northern city killed at least 15 people on Monday. The area has previously been targeted by militant Islamist group Boko Haram. The group’s name translates to “Western education is forbidden.”
Several witnesses reported hearing multiple bomb blasts around 9:30 pm local time in the Sabon Gari district. The area is predominantly Christian and contains mostly ethnic Igbos from the country’s southeast.
The military has not placed blame for the attack, which killed 15 people and injured several more, reports Reuters. However, Boko Haram claimed responsibility for a similar attack in the area in March.
That incident killed at least 25 people. Boko Haram has carried out several attacks in the past few years, mainly against the country’s Christians. But a military crackdown against the militant group has resulted in less bombings than normal.
The crackdown started in May and has helped weaken the four-year-old insurgency. The group is attempting to create an Islamic state out of the religiously mixed nation.
While Boko Haram has previously targeted churches and military strongholds, they have recently focused on mostly civilian targets. The group is thought responsible for four attacks in the past month that killed school children. they also killed about 20 civilians during an attack last weekend.
There has been no official body count in the latest Nigeria bombing. However, The Washington Post notes that a mortuary attendant at Murtala Mohammed Specialists Hospital reported seeing at least 10 bodies come in from the scene.
While the government has declared a state of emergency to fight groups like Boko Haram, Kano city is not part of it. Nigeria is Africa’s most populous nation and boasts more than 160 million people. The nation is divided evenly by Christians and Muslims. While Christians dominate the country’s south, Muslims are mainly in the north.
One witness from the scene of Monday’s bombing in Kano reported hearing at least three blasts, one of which came from a Mercedez-Benz parked next to a drink kiosk at a market. The attack comes exactly a year after suspected Islamic militants attempted to attack a mosque in Kano.
Police engaged the militants in battle and killed four of the attackers. The militants killed five civilians in the incident. Kano was also the site of twin suicide car bombings three days before Christmas.
[Image via Wikimedia Commons]