Nigeria: Savage terrorist attack bears the mark of Al Qaeda

Dozens were killed and incinerated at a bus station in Abuja, Nigeria, in an attack that may be attributable to Al Qaeda.

Dozens of people were killed in two explosions in Abuja, a city in central Nigeria, on the morning of April 14. Commuters were about to board buses and taxes at crowded bus station for their trip to work in central Abuja when the detonations took place. Witnesses say that dozens of bodies are scattered about the area of carnage. It is feared that this may have been yet another attack by the armed Muslim sect known as Boko Haram, which has sworn to impose Muslim law throughout the multi-ethnic multi-religious nation. Witnesses say that at least 40 bodies have been taken to makeshift morgues in the city, while rescue works and police are gathering body parts.
 
The blast tore a hole at least 4 feet deep in the ground at Nyanya Motor park, which is about 10 miles from the center f Abuja. More than 30 vehicles, including buses, have been destroyed. Secondary explosions, caused by ruptured fuel tanks, added to the destruction. Panic ensued as the flames rose throughout the bus station.
The dead and wounded are being taken to area hospitals, including Asokoro General Hospital in Abuja.  
 
Boko Haram's insurgents have killed more than 1,500 civilians in three states in north-east Nigeria so far in 2014. Abuja has been hit by the Muslim marauders several times before, including a deadly attack on the United Nations compound in 2011. 
 
The Nigerian government has not yet provided an official death toll, which involved dozens of vehicles. According to the Fides news agency, Fr. Patrick Tor Alumuku – a Catholic priest of the Diocese of Abuja – said "The place where the attack was carried out today is one of the largest suburbs of Abuja and is located 15-20 km from the center of Abuja," who added, "The bus depot where the explosion took place is normally used by a large number of commuters to get to work in the center of the capital. The victims are therefore normal people, who belong to the working class, who were on their way to work."
 
"The authorities have not yet confirmed that this was an attack carried out by Boko Haram, but suspicion is likely to fall on armed group Boko Haram", continued Rev. Alumuku, who is the director of communications for the diocese. 
 
The attack in Abuja came less than a day after an April 13 attack by Boko Haram in villages in the north-east of Nigeria. At least 60 persons were murdered. "The situation is very difficult. The army is chasing the Boko Haram men but these in response commit reprisals against civilians", said Rev. Alumuku. The priest said that Boko Haram’s strength comes from the support it receives from abroad. Said Rev. Alumuku, "A large number of Boko Haram fighters are not Nigerians, because Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb has decided to offer support to the Nigerian Islamist sect." He added that Al Qaeda, is “involved in the financing, support and training of Boko Haram fighters. It is therefore no longer an internal war."


Spero News editor Martin Barillas is a former US diplomat, who also worked as a democracy advocate and election observer in Latin America. He is also a freelance translator.

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