This may be the plainest demonstration yet of the adoption of al-Qaeda-style tactics by Boko Haram: coordinated attacks, attackers disguised in uniforms, and suicide bombing. Such an evolution in tactics would not be possible without support, training, and financing. “Suicide attack, two other blasts rock Nigerian city,” by Victor Ulasi for Agence France-Presse, February 9:
Explosions rocked an army barracks, a bridge and an air base in the northern Nigerian city of Kaduna Tuesday, a set of coordinated attacks claimed by the Islamist group Boko Haram, officials said.
The military said the attack on the barracks was carried out by a suicide bomber wearing an army uniform. Troops opened fire on him before he was able to reach the compound’s buildings.
Boko Haram, which has claimed a series of recent attacks in Africa’s most populous nation and top oil producer, said it was responsible for the Tuesday blasts and that its insurgency would go on.
According to the military, the blast went off after soldiers opened fire on the car as the bomber sought to force his way onto the grounds at the barracks in Kaduna, a major city in Nigeria’s mainly Muslim north.
Army spokesman Raphael Isa told journalists the man was “dressed in military uniform (and) driving in a private car” which he tried to crash into headquarters of the 1st Mechanised Division.
Multiple military sources have insisted the driver was the only person killed.
After the blast, the army sealed off the area and blocked rescue workers from accessing the site, preventing them from assessing whether anyone was killed or injured.
“I was standing at the gate for 2 hours. The military have not been helpful. I pleaded with them to allow us in, but they refused us entry,” said Musa Ilallah, an official with the National Emergency Management Agency in Kaduna.
Another bomb also went off outside a nearby air force base, defence spokesman Colonel Mohammed Yerima told AFP.
He described the device as being planted “in a canister” not far from the base, but said it was not clear what caused it to explode.
A third explosion struck near a bridge in Kaduna, damaging a group of commuter buses and wounding passengers, residents and the military said.
The attack at the army barracks happened just after midday, Kano-based army spokesman Abubakar Edun told journalists.
He said the driver managed to crash through an outer gate but then the soldiers started firing as he approached the building, causing him to lose control of his vehicle and crash into a wall, which set off the explosion.
One resident said he saw soldiers being taken out of the barracks with cuts thought to be from the shattered glass.
“Virtually all the glass has been shattered,” the resident said. “I saw soldiers with glass cuts on their bodies being taken out, but it’s difficult to say if there were any (more serious) casualties.”
The army blocked journalists from accessing the site and confiscated the equipment of some reporters, an AFP correspondent said.
Speaking to journalists by phone conference in Maiduguri, the northwestern city that is seen as their base, a purported Boko Haram spokesman claimed the Tuesday attacks.
“We are responsible for the attacks on the army barracks and the air force base in Kaduna today,” a man who claimed to be Boko Haram spokesman Abul Qaqa said….
Authorities recently said they arrested Abul Qaqa. Since it is a pseudonym, however, there’s plenty more Qaqa where that came from.