On 29 January, gunmen believed to be members of the militant Islamist sect known as Boko Haram, bombed a police station at Naibawa district outside Kano city, capital of Kano State.
Local sources said the attack took place near the Naibawa motor park, a major bus terminal on the fringe of the city. They said a large number of gunmen stormed the area at prayer time, hurled an explosive at the police station and then opened fire on it. They said as the police returned fire, a gun duel ensued.
The Commissioner of Police in Kano State, Mr Ibrahim Idris, said the blast caused damage to “part of the police station”. He also confirmed that the blast was followed by about an hour-long gun fight, adding that: “We were able to push them out of the area”.
Kano, the largest city in northern Nigeria and populated by about 10 million people, recently came under a siege mounted by members of Boko Haram. The sect said it is fighting to install Islamic governments under strict and comprehensive sharia law across northern Nigeria.
On 20 January, it staged multiple bomb and gun attacks across Kano city, mostly targeting police stations, and killing over 200 persons.
On 26 January, the presumed leader of the sect, Abubakar Shekau, posted an audio tape on the Internet threatened to kill more security personnel, kidnap their families and also attack western-style educational institutions.
On 28 January, the group’s spokesman, Abul Qaqa, told some journalists on phone that security agents had arrested “many” of its members in Sokoto and demanded their “immediate and unconditional” release.
Qaqa he urged senior citizens in Sokoto and neighbouring states to intervene in order to avert a repeat of “the big attack in Kano State”. He said: “This is an open letter to the Emir of Sokoto (Sultan of Sokoto) Alhaji Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar 111, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Alhaji Aminu Tambuwal and the Acting Governor of Sokoto State.
The Sultan of Sokoto is the spiritual leader of all Muslims in Nigeria and has expressed disapproval of Boko Haram’s violence, publicly and repeatedly. Speaker Tambuwal, who hails from the village of Tambuwal in Sokoto State, is the highest ranking figure from the state within the Federal Government.