Multiple blasts in Nigeria kill 1, wound 11

AP News
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Posted: Dec 11, 2011 1:11 PM
Multiple blasts in Nigeria kill 1, wound 11

Three bomb attacks blamed on a feared radical sect killed one person and wounded 11 others in a volatile central Nigerian city, an official said Sunday.

The bombs exploded Saturday night in three locations in Jos where people had gathered to view a televised soccer match between Real Madrid and Barcelona, Plateau state spokesman Pam Ayuba said.

Authorities suspect a radical Muslim sect locally known as Boko Haram which has launched similar simultaneous attacks in northern Nigeria, he said.

The sophistication of these latest attacks, which targeted some 600 people who were drinking while watching the high-profile match, suggests the work of Boko Haram, Ayuba said.

The blast killed a 35-year-old barber, Ayuba said. A fourth unexploded bomb was found in one of the viewing centers, he said.

Of the 11 wounded, nine have been discharged from the a local hospital, authorities said.

The attacks occurred in heavily militarized areas of a city which sits in Nigeria's "middle belt," where dozens of ethnic groups vie for power. The city has been at the epicenter of religious and ethnic violence in the country, straddling the dividing line between Nigeria's largely Christian south and Muslim north.

Authorities suspect Boko Haram is responsible for a drive-by shooting at a beer parlor Sunday morning that killed a policeman who had just ended a night shift in the northeastern city of Maiduguri, military spokesman Lt. Col. Hassan Mohammed said.

In June, simultaneous bomb attacks in the group's stronghold in Maiduguri killed at least 25 people in June at beer gardens. Boko Haram, whose name means "Western education is sacrilege" in the local Hausa language, says it wants the strict implementation of Shariah law across the country's north.

The Jos violence, though fractured across religious lines, often has more to do with local politics, economics and rights to grazing lands. The government of Plateau state is controlled by Christian politicians who have blocked Muslims from being legally recognized as citizens. That has locked many out of prized government jobs in a region where the tourism industry and tin mining have collapsed in the last decades.

Human Rights Watch says at least 1,000 people were killed in communal clashes around Jos in 2010 and another 200 died at the turn of the year.

Similar attacks appeared to have clustered during holidays.

Last year, a series of Christmas Eve bombings in Jos killed at least 32 people and wounded at least 74 others. Boko Haram claimed responsibility. The group also claimed responsibility for May blasts that killed more than a dozen people at open-air bars in two northern cities and a town near the capital hours during a long weekend to mark the inauguration of a president from Nigeria's predominantly Christian south

It was during the May attack that bars emerged as a new target.

Three months ago, two bomb attacks targeted informal beer parlors hit the city, but left no casualties. No one claimed responsibility for the attacks, although beer parlors are a typical Boko Haram target.

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Njadvara Musa contributed to this report from Maiduguri.