Scores dead in northern Nigeria as Islamist militants terrorise the country

January 22, 2012

By Monica Mark, Guardian UK

More than 140 people have died in the northern Nigerian city of Kano after a series of attacks by the militant Islamist group Boko Haram. In a series of attacks on Friday, as residents were leaving mosques, five police buildings, two immigration offices and the local headquarters of the national intelligence services were targeted.

“We are still collecting the bodies so we cannot confirm the total death toll. We have nine so far. We will know the final number once we have finished collecting,” a spokesperson for the National Emergency Management Agency told the Observer.

Witnesses reported seeing at least 100 bodies sprawled around the regional police base alone. Officials in the main hospital said the wounded and dead were still being ferried in on Saturday, some after being trapped by overnight gunfights.

Authorities largely refused to offer casualty statistics as mourners began claiming the bodies of their loved ones to bury before sundown, following Islamic tradition. However, a hospital official told the Associated Press at least 143 people were killed. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorised to release the death toll to journalists. The figure could rise further, since other bodies could be held at other clinics and hospitals.

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