Deadly attack on Nigeria’s Bayero university in Kano

Students taking part in a Sunday morning church service may have been the target, as Mark Lobel reports
BBC News, April 30, 2012

At least 16 people have been killed in a gun and bomb attack at a university in Nigeria’s northern city of Kano, Nigerian Red Cross officials say.

Six others were in a serious condition following the attack at Bayero University campus where Christian worshippers were holding a service.

Police are searching for the gunmen.

No group has said it launched the attack, but the violent Islamist Boko Haram group is active in Kano and has recently attacked churches.

Nigeria’s central government has struggled to contain the militant group, which operates mainly in the predominantly Muslim north, but has also struck as far south as the capital, Abuja.

Later on Sunday, there was an attack on another church in the north-eastern city of Maiduguri, where Boko Haram is based.

Five people were killed after gunmen opened fire at a Church of Christ in Nigeria chapel, witnesses say.

The Kano attack took place in one of the Bayero University’s lecture theatres used as a place of worship by Christians.

A witness told AFP news agency the attackers had first thrown in explosives and fired shots, “causing a stampede among worshippers”.

“They now pursued them, shooting them with guns. They also attacked another service at the sporting complex.”

Another witness spoke of “pandemonium”, and said he had seen two men shooting indiscriminately.

Mohammed Suleiman, a history lecturer at the university, said security guards had to run for their lives when the violence broke out.

“For over 30 minutes a series of bomb explosions and gun shots took over the old campus, around the academic blocks,” he told Reuters news agency.

A Red Cross spokesman said adults – possibly professors – and three women were among the casualties. Several needed urgent blood transfusions.

Kano state police spokesman Ibrahim Idris said that by the time police arrived, the attackers had “disappeared into the neighbourhood”. A manhunt is under way.

But the situation at the university was now calm, according to the Red Cross spokesman.

Boko Haram carried out a bombing in Kano in January that killed more than 180 people, its deadliest attack to date.