SomaliPress.com

Nigerian Military Takes Control of Maiduguri Following Blast

Published on Monday 27th June 2011

Nigeria's military has taken control of security in the northern city of Maiduguri after bombs Sunday killed at least 25 people. The bombing is believed to be the work of the Islamic militant group Boko Haram. Two men on motorbikes threw bombs into a beer garden in the capital of Borno State and fired gunshots into the crowd before escaping.Boko Haram has not yet claimed responsibility for the Maiduguri bombing, and a spokesman did not respond to text messages asking about the attack. The group has claimed responsibility for the bombing of national police headquarters in the capital Abuja earlier this month and the bombing of a beer garden in Bauchi following last month's inauguration of President Goodluck Jonathan.Boko Haram, which means “Western education is sinful,” has focused on bombings and ambushes of military convoys since hundreds of its members were killed when security forces put down a 2009 uprising aimed at creating an Islamic state in Northern Nigeria.The group says it recognizes neither Jonathan's election nor Nigeria's constitution.Jonathan's administration has tried to open talks with the group. Boko Haram says the threat of military force against it, however, makes that impossible.In an interview with Nigeria's Daily Trust newspaper before the Maiduguri attack, Boko Haram spokesman Abu Zaid said the federal government is asking his group to disarm while security forces have violated past agreements and are rearming. He quoted the Prophet Muhammad as saying, “A believer should not allow himself to be attacked twice in one place.”The spokesman said the group is pursuing a sovereign land under Islamic law, which might then engage in dialogue with what he called “the country of the unbelievers.” He said the group will continue to pursue past governors of northern states who called out forces against them.Borno State police spokesman Lawal Abdullahi said security equipment acquired by the state is meant to protect the lives and property of everyone and “is not aimed at harming or confronting any person or group.”Abdullahi said the “doors for dialogue and constructive criticism” remain open, while calling on Nigerians to reject violence and sectarian killings.

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