Blasts claim lives in northeast Nigeria

Bokor Haram role suspected after attacks at a hotel tavern and a transport hub in Maidugri, capital of Borno state.

    Violence broke out across northern Nigeria following the result of presidential election [EPA]

    A series of bomb blasts have hit northeast Nigeria, killing at least three people and injuring 15 others in the latest spate of violence to hit the country.

    Police said on Monday that they suspected a radical Islamic sect, known as Boko Haram, were behind the attacks that took place at a hotel tavern and a transport hub in Maiduguri, on Easter Sunday night.

    Another explosion went off at a cattle market on Monday morning.

    "From our records the death toll has risen to three, which include a police corporal and two civilians who were at the tavern to have some drinks," Mike Zuokumor, the police commissioner, told the AFP news agency.

    He said 14 people, including two children playing outside the tavern, were wounded in the hotel attack, while an officer was injured in Monday's attack.

    The explosions at the hotel and the transport hub occurred nearly simultaneously, with the two locations not far apart.

    It was unclear whether the blasts were linked to the unrest that swept across Nigeria's north last week following results of presidential election, which has left more than 500 dead according to a local rights group.

    Politically motivated

    Maiduguri has long been hit by violence blamed on the Boko Haram sect. The sect is seen as opposed to the ruling party in Borno state, whose capital is Maiduguri.

    Some of the recent violence blamed on the group is believed to have been politically motivated.

    Most of Nigeria's 36 states will hold governorship elections on Tuesday, including Borno, where the All Nigeria Peoples Party is in power.

    The party controls three states in Nigeria.

    "We have placed our men on the alert for the governorship tomorrow. We will not be daunted by terrorists," Zuokumor said.

    Boko Haram, which means "Western education is sin" in the local Hausa language, had distributed fliers earlier on Sunday warning of further attacks, saying "we are fighters waging jihad in Nigeria".

    "We will never accept any system of governance apart from the one described by Islam because that is the only way Muslims can be liberated," the fliers said. "We do not respect the Nigerian government because it is illegal.

    "We will continue to fight its military and police because they are not protecting Islam."

    The sect launched an uprising in 2009 put down by a brutal military assault that left hundreds dead.

    In recent months, it has been blamed for a series of attacks and shootings, most of them in Maiduguri.

    Spate of violence

    Rioting swept across northern Nigeria after incumbent Goodluck Jonathan, a southern Christian, was declared the winner in the presidential election.

    Jonathan's main rival was ex-military ruler Muhammadu Buhari, a Muslim from the north.

    Nigeria's 150 million population is roughly divided in half between a mainly Muslim north and predominantly Christian south.

    The north has long been economically marginalised compared to the oil-rich south, helping fuel last week's riots.

    Despite being Africa's largest oil producer, Nigeria has long been held back by deeply rooted corruption and widespread poverty.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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