Bomb explodes near north Nigeria Islamic school
LAGOS, Nigeria — Gunmen detonated a bomb Sunday near an Islamic boarding school in northern Nigeria and later exchanged gunfire with security forces, causing unknown casualties in the region's latest round of violence, officials said.
Sunday's attack hit Zaria, a city in the northern reaches of Kaduna state that is the nerve center of Shiite Muslims in a country where Muslims are predominantly Sunni. The blast struck the Gaskiya neighborhood in the city, causing some injuries, said Yushau Shuaib, a spokesman for Nigeria's National Emergency Management Agency.
Following the blast, soldiers and police flooded the area and opened fire on gunmen they suspected of planting the bomb, killing two people, Shuaib said. Local authorities took the injured to a nearby hospital. Police and military officials could not be immediately reached for comment.
The explosion could have potentially killed more people, but the gunmen ordered the children out of the school before triggering the bomb, according to some witnesses who spoke to officials. The blast destroyed several homes nearby as well.
The Nigerian military had surrounded the blast site hours before as part of an operation to track down members of the radical Islamist sect known as Boko Haram, a witness told The Associated Press. Soldiers forced those living around the area to flee during the operation, the witness said. The witness spoke on condition of anonymity out of fear of facing reprisals from the government for speaking to a foreign journalist. (continue reading...)