Clearly Boko Haram, officially known as the Party of the People of the Sunnah for Dawah and Jihad, is deeply rattled by Michelle Obama’s hashtag campaign, and in full retreat everywhere. Anyway, even though international attention is currently focused on Boko Haram, the media is likely to ignore this attack, as it appears to have been directed at least in part against Christians: Boko Haram has not struck in Jos “since it attempted to ignite sectarian tensions with a series of church bombs on Christmas Day 2011. Jos is at the heart of the Nigeria’s volatile Middle Belt, where the country’s largely Christian south and mostly Muslim north meet.”
“Nigeria bombings leave over a hundred dead in city of Jos,” by Monica Mark, The Guardian, May 20, 2014 (thanks to Thomas Pellow):
At least 118 people were killed in the central Nigerian city of Jos on Tuesday after two bombs ripped through a business district packed with commuters and traders.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the explosions, but the bombs bore the hallmarks of other attacks by Islamist sect Boko Haram, which has recently stepped up a bloody five-year battle campaign to establish a caliphate in northern Nigeria, and kidnapped more than 300 schoolgirls from a remote north-eastern school in April. In the past month, the group has set off two bomb blasts in the capital, Abuja, and another in the country’s second city, Kano….
That could push the death toll close to Boko Haram’s single biggest atrocity yet, a multiple-bomb attack in Kano which killed 170 in January 2012 . The attack suggests the insurgency, which originally started with hit-and-run home-made explosives thrown from motorbikes, is seeking to to make a show of its capabilities ahead of elections scheduled in 2015.Witnesses said soldiers had erected checkpoints around the area, and firefighters were still battling to put out flames that continued to rage almost two hours after the blasts.
Bala Mohammed, a resident who was returning home from his office nearby, said the force of the first explosion threw him to the ground. “People started running to help the wounded, and ten minutes later the second one went off. It took off the roof of the market building. Many were trapped inside, it was a terrible scene.”
Stung by recent criticism over sluggish responses to attacks, the government was quick to condemn the bombings. “President [Goodluck] Jonathan assures all Nigerians that government remains fully committed to winning the war against terror, and this administration will not be cowed by the atrocities of enemies of human progress and civilisation,” a statement released from his office said.
Far from Boko Haram’s northern strongholds, Jos has been relatively free of attacks by the sect. The group hasn’t struck there since it attempted to ignite sectarian tensions with a series of church bombs on Christmas Day 2011. Jos is at the heart of the Nigeria’s volatile Middle Belt, where the country’s largely Christian south and mostly Muslim north meet.
More than 1,500 people died in attacks by Boko Haram in the first three months of this year after the group stepped up its campaign. At least 105 were then killed in twin bomb blasts in the capital, Abuja, last month, while a suicide car bomber also killed five people in the northern city of Kano on Sunday evening.
Britain, the US and France have pledged to help rescue the schoolgirls snatched from north-eastern Borno state, marking a potential military escalation in a region already under a state of emergency.