Eight people were killed on Monday when a female suicide bomber detonated her explosives at a mosque in northeast Nigeria, in the latest attack in the restive region.
The head of the Borno state emergency management agency, Ahmed Satomi, said the blast happened at about 5:30 am (0430 GMT) in the London Ciki area of Maiduguri, which has been at the epicentre of Boko Haram violence since 2009.
“She killed eight people and injured 15 others. The mosque was being guarded by civilian JTF (joint task force militia) during prayers,” he told AFP.
“Unknown to them, the girl was being pursued from another part of town by residents who were suspicious of her movement at the time.
“When she approached the mosque, they demanded that she stop to be searched but she suddenly bolted into the mosque and set off her bombs.”
Three other female suicide bombers were located in Maiduguri at about the same time, said Satomi.
Two were killed in the Mammanti area as they tried to cross the ditch around the city perimeter while another set off her explosives in the suburb of Simari, he added.
It is the second time in a week that four female suicide bombers have sought to cause carnage in Maiduguri.
Last Monday, at least 19 people were killed and 23 others injured when four women set off their bombs in the Molai Kolemari area of the city.
Boko Haram has increasingly used women and young girls as human bombs as they have been forced out of captured territory due to a sustained military counter-insurgency.
Maiduguri has been repeatedly attacked in recent months, with mosques, markets, camps for those displaced by the conflict and other civilian “soft” targets hit regularly. (Punchng.com)
More than 16 persons were killed in a coordinated suicide bombing at the University of Maiduguri (UNIMAID) and Zannari Community in Maiduguri on Sunday night.
An eyewitness told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Maiduguri that the bombing started around 10 p.m
“The noise of the explosion coming from the university woke us up from the sleep around 10 p.m.
“Few minutes after, the explosion spread to other parts of the town, especially around London Ciki,” Malam Usman Chiroma, a resident of Mairi near the university said.
Malam Abdullahi Cirani, another resident, who live around Gidan Dambe corroborated the claim.
“We heard about 10 explosions coming from around the university.
“The explosion led to a stampede in London Ciki as residents abandoned their homes for fear of being affected,” Cirani said.
He said that most residents in the densely populated London Ciki slept in the open near the Gwange Cemetery for fear of being attacked.
But some residents of Zannari interviewed gave a different version of the incident.
Malam Lawan Modu said that the area was invaded by suspected suicide bombers who detonated their explosives in four different locations in the community.
“We had explosions in four different locations in Zannari yesterday, the first explosion happened around 10:30 pm.
“The other explosions took place within short intervals,” Modu said.
He said about 10 people were killed in the attacks.
So many people were affected, in fact, we evacuated about 10 bodies in the morning. Several others were also injured,” Modu said.
Mr Damian Chukwu the State’s Commissioner of Police confirmed the incidents, saying that 16 persons were killed.
“All in all, 16 persons including some suicide bombers died in the multiple suicide attacks, while 13 others were injured.
“Yesterday at about 2221 hours, a male suicide bomber gained entry into the premises of UNIMAID and detonated explosive on his body near the Rapid Response Service office building.
“The bomber died while three university security personnel on duty were injured,” Chukwu said.
He said, however, that one of the injured security personnel later died at the hospital.
“One of the injured security personnel a female known as Becky Edubi later died at the hospital.
“At about 2230 hours the same night, four female suicide bombers infiltrated Zannari Community in Gwange general area.
“Two of the suicide bombers detonated explosives on their bodies in two different residential buildings killing eight persons and injuring 11 others.
“The third suicide bomber detonated his explosive in another area killing himself alone.
“The forth female suicide bomber was arrested that same night but she died as a result of injuries she had sustained,” Chukwu said.
He said that another set of bombers later returned to the university around 0408 hours in the morning.
“Today at about 0408 hours, two suspected female suicide bombers detonated explosives on their bodies within the premises of the university.
“One detonated close to the Entrepreneurship Centre killing herself alone with no other casualty, while the other detonated behind Works Department Complex also killing herself alone,” he said.
Chukwu said that the police anti-explosion unit had been mobilised to the scenes, while the injured were evacuated to hospital for medical treatment. (NAN)
Related video: Manchester bombing: Suspect had ties to both ISIS and al Qaeda, authorities say (provided by Today)
The Manchester suicide bomber who killed 22 people at a concert venue packed with children had recently returned from Libya, a British minister said, and her French counterpart said he had links with Islamic State and had probably visited Syria, too.
Interior minister Amber Rudd said Salman Abedi had likely not acted alone, and troops were being deployed to key sites across Britain to help prevent further attacks after the official threat level was raised to “critical”. Police made three new arrests in South Manchester on Wednesday in connection with the concert bombing. They provided no details on the individuals held.
Rudd said up to 3,800 soldiers could be deployed on Britain’s streets, taking on guard duties at places like Buckingham Palace and Downing Street to free up police to focus on patrols and investigation. An initial deployment of 984 had been ordered, initially in London, then elsewhere. The Changing of the Guard ceremony at Buckingham Palace, a draw for tourists, was cancelled because it requires support from police officers, which authorities decided was not a good use of police resources given the threat level.
Rudd also scolded U.S. officials for leaking details about the investigation into the Manchester attack before British authorities were prepared to go public. British-born Abedi, 22, blew himself up on Monday night at the Manchester Arena indoor venue at the end of a concert by U.S. pop singer Ariana Grande, attended by thousands of children and teenagers.
His 22 victims included an 8-year-old girl, several teenage girls, a 28-year-old man and a Polish couple who had come to collect their daughters. Greater Manchester Police said they were now confident they knew the identity of all the people who lost their lives and had made contact with all the families.
They said they would formally name the victims after forensic post-mortems, which would take four or five days. The bombing also left 64 people wounded, of whom 20 were receiving critical care for highly traumatic injuries to major organs and to limbs, a health official said.
UNLIKELY ABEDI ACTED ALONE
“It seems likely, possible, that he (Abedi) wasn’t doing this on his own,” Rudd said on BBC radio. She said Abedi had been known to security services before the bombing.
The BBC reported that the security services thought Abedi may have been a “mule” for a bomb made by someone else because they thought the device was too sophisticated for him to have put together by himself.
Asked about reports that Abedi had recently returned from Libya, Rudd said she believed that had now been confirmed. French Interior Minister Gerard Collomb said British investigators had told French authorities Abedi had probably travelled to Syria as well.
“Today we only know what British investigators have told us — someone of British nationality, of Libyan origin, who suddenly after a trip to Libya, then probably to Syria, becomes radicalised and decides to carry out this attack,” Collomb told BFMTV.
Asked if he believed Abedi had the support of a network, Collomb said: “That is not known yet, but perhaps. In any case, (he had) links with Daesh (Islamic State) that are proven.”
Islamic State, now being driven from territories in Syria and Iraq by Western-backed armed forces, claimed responsibility for the Manchester attack, but there were contradictions in its accounts of the action and a telling lack of detail.
Prime Minister Theresa May announced late on Tuesday that the official threat level had been raised to its highest level for the first time in a decade, meaning an attack could be imminent.
The UK Independence Party was the first party to announce it would resume campaigning. It plans to unveil its policy pledges on Thursday.
WASHINGTON REBUKED OVER LEAKS
Abedi was born in Manchester in 1994 to parents of Libyan origin, according to U.S. sources citing British contacts. As Collomb was speaking in France, Rudd was asked by the BBC about the fact that information about Abedi, including his name, had come out from the United States and whether she would look again at how information was shared with other countries.
“Yes, quite frankly. I mean the British police have been very clear that they want to control the flow of information in order to protect the operational integrity, the element of surprise, so it is irritating if it gets released from other sources and I have been very clear with our friends that should not happen again.”
Asked whether the U.S. leaks had compromised the investigation, she said: “I wouldn’t go that far but I can say that they are perfectly clear about the situation and that it shouldn’t happen again.”
France, which has repeatedly been hit by devastating militant attacks since 2015, extended emergency powers after the Manchester bombing. It was the deadliest attack in Britain since July 2005, when four British Muslim suicide bombers killed 52 people in coordinated attacks on London’s transport network.
Attacks in cities including Paris, Nice, Brussels, St. Petersburg, Berlin and London have shocked Europeans already anxious over security challenges from mass immigration and pockets of domestic Islamic radicalism. (REUTERS)
LONDON, March 22 (Reuters) – Five people were killed and about 40 injured in London on Wednesday after a car plowed into pedestrians and a suspected Islamist-inspired attacker stabbed a policeman close to Britain’s parliament.
The dead, in what police called a “marauding terrorist attack,” included the assailant and the policeman he stabbed. The other three victims were among those hit by the car as it sped across Westminster Bridge before crashing into railings just outside parliament.
Prime Minister Theresa May condemned the attack as “sick and depraved.”
“The location of this attack was no accident,” she said in a statement outside her 10 Downing Street office late in the evening.
“The terrorist chose to strike at the heart of our capital city, where people of all nationalities, religions and cultures come together to celebrate the values of liberty, democracy and freedom of speech.”
Any attempt to defeat those values through violence was “doomed to failure,” May said.
Mark Rowley, Britain’s most senior counter-terrorism officer, told reporters the attack started when a car was driven over Westminster Bridge, hitting and injuring members of the public and three police officers.
“A car then crashed near to parliament and at least one man, armed with a knife, continued the attack and tried to enter parliament,” Rowley said.
He said the police’s “fast-paced investigation” was working on the assumption that the attack was “Islamist-related terrorism.” Police believed they knew the identity of the attacker but would not provide details at this stage, he said.
It was the deadliest attack in London since four British Islamists killed 52 commuters and themselves in suicide bombings on the city’s transport system in July 2005, in London’s worst peacetime attack.
It took place on the first anniversary of attacks by Islamist militants that killed 32 people in Brussels.
Reuters reporters inside parliament during Wednesday’s attack heard loud bangs and shortly afterwards saw the knifeman and the stabbed policeman lying on the ground in a courtyard within the gates of parliament.
The dead police officer was identified as Keith Palmer, 48, with 15 years of service.
LAWMAKERS CAUGHT UP IN CHAOS
A Reuters photographer saw at least a dozen people injured on the bridge. His photographs showed people lying on the ground, some of them bleeding heavily and one under a bus.
A woman was pulled alive, but with serious injuries, from the Thames, the Port of London Authority said. The circumstances of her fall into the river were unknown.
Three French schoolchildren aged 15 or 16 were among those injured in the attack, French officials said.
Several members of parliament (MPs) and senior officials were caught up in the chaos. Tobias Ellwood, a junior Foreign Office minister, was pictured attempting to resuscitate a man lying unconscious, reported to be the stabbed policeman.
London Mayor Sadiq Khan said there would be additional police officers on the city streets to keep Londoners and visitors safe.
“We stand together in the face of those who seek to harm us and destroy our way of life. We always have, and we always will. Londoners will never be cowed by terrorism,” he said.
Parliament’s lower House of Commons, which was in session at the time, was suspended and lawmakers were asked to stay inside the building for several hours.
May said parliament would convene as normal on Thursday in a sign that the attack would not disrupt life in the capital.
However, a visit by Queen Elizabeth to officially open the new headquarters of London’s police force, which had been planned for Thursday, was postponed “in light of today’s events,” Buckingham Palace said.
In a telephone call with May, President Donald Trump offered Britain the full cooperation and support of the United States, the White House said. U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson condemned the attack as “horrific acts of violence.”
German Chancellor Angela Merkel and NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg were among foreign leaders who expressed shock and solidarity.
“NO SIGNS OF LIFE”
Eyewitnesses described scenes of panic during the attack.
“I just saw a car go out of control and just go into pedestrians on the bridge,” said Bernadette Kerrigan, who had been on a tour bus on the bridge, in an interview with Sky News.
“As we were going across the bridge, we saw people lying on the floor, they were obviously injured. I saw about 10 people maybe. And then the emergency services started to arrive. Everyone was just running everywhere.”
Former Polish Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski, who witnessed the attack from a taxi as he crossed the bridge, said he saw five victims and made a video of the scene.
“I heard something that sounded like a small car crash. Then I looked out of the window and saw that there was one person lying on the asphalt,” he told Reuters.
“I did not see the face of the person lying on the asphalt, but the person was not moving, it was not showing any signs of life. One of the men I saw, his head was bleeding very badly. But the person I filmed — no, that person was not showing any signs of life.”
Journalist Quentin Letts of the Daily Mail newspaper told LBC radio that he had witnessed the stabbing of the policeman and the shooting of the assailant from his office in the parliament building.
“He (the assailant) ran in through the open gates … He set about one of the policemen with what looked like a stick,” Letts said.
“The policeman fell over on the ground and it was quite horrible to watch and then having done that, he disengaged and ran towards the House of Commons entrance used by MPs and got about 20 yards or so when two plain-clothed guys with guns shot him.”
In Edinburgh, the Scottish parliament suspended a planned debate and vote on independence as the news from London came in.
Britain is on its second-highest alert level of “severe” meaning an attack by militants is considered highly likely.
The most recent deadly attack in London to be treated as a terrorist incident was in May 2013, when two British Islamists stabbed to death soldier Lee Rigby on a street.