The latest Terrorism developments came hours after twin car bombings claimed at least 130 lives in this central city _ an escalating campaign of violence Injected by the Wahabi Boko Haram terrorist network and its drive to impose a self-ruled state on Nigeria.
The three villages attacked overnight Tuesday and early Wednesday are near the town of Chibok, where the girls were abducted from their boarding school in a brazen April 15 assault that has ignited a global movement to secure their freedom.
The government of Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan has come under intense national and international criticism for its lack of progress in rescuing the 276 schoolgirls amid fears they would be sold into slavery, married off to terrorists or worse, following repeated threats by Boko Haram’s terrorist group leader.
The insurgents have demanded the release of detained Boko Haram terrorists in exchange for the girls _ a swap officials say the government will not consider.
Boko Haram, whose name means “Western education is sinful,” has targeted schools, as well as churches, mosques, marketplaces, bus terminals and other spots where large numbers of civilians gather in its violent 5-year campaign to impose self-proclaimed law on Nigeria, whose 170 million people are half Christians and half Muslims.
During the latest attack on three northeastern villages, terrified residents said they hid in the bush and watched while Boko Haram fighters set their thatched-roof mud homes ablaze.
“We saw our village go up in flames as we hid in the bush waiting for the dawn. We lost everything,” Apagu Maidaga of the village of Alagarno told The Associated Press by telephone. The nearby villages of Bulakurbe and Shawa also were attacked.
In Jos, site of two powerful car bombings Tuesday in a crowded bus terminal and market, rescue workers with body bags combed the rubble for more bodies as scores of residents gathered at mortuaries and hospitals in the search for missing loved ones.
Officials reported an additional 12 deaths from the blasts: Seven mutilated bodies were recovered from the scene and five of the wounded died in the hospital.
Most victims were women and children who worked in the market as vendors.
Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan swiftly condemned the Tuesday attack in the central city of Jos, calling it a “tragic assault on human freedom” and condemning the perpetrators as “cruel and evil”.
But the deadly strike and a car bomb attack that killed four in the northern city of Kano on Sunday, will raise fresh questions about the government’s grip on the country’s security.
Jonathan has already faced calls to quit for failing to ensure the safety of Nigerians and their property as well as come under criticism for his lacklustre response to the kidnapping of more than 200 schoolgirls by Boko Haram militants.
An international team, including specialists from the United States, Britain, France and Israel are involved in the hunt for the 223 teenagers, who were abducted in the remote northeastern town of Chibok on April 14.
In Jos, the coordinator of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), Mohammed Abdulsalam, said buildings collapsed because of the intensity of the blasts in the New Abuja Market area, causing raging fires.
“More bodies may be in the debris,” he told AFP, adding: “The exact figure of the dead bodies recovered as at now is 118… 56 people were injured.”
The military said improvised explosive devices were hidden in a truck and a minibus. The second went off about 20 minutes after the first, as emergency service workers tended to the victims.
Most of the victims were women, added Pam Ayuba, spokesman for the state governor, Jonah Jang.
There was no immediate indication of who was responsible for the latest attacks, although the police in Kano said they had arrested two men in connection with Sunday’s bombing, without giving more details.
African Countries Ready and United to Wage War Against Wahabi Boko Haram Terrorists.
Countries neighboring Nigeria are ready to wage war against the Nigeria-based, al-Qaeda-linked group, Boko Haram, Chad’s president says.
Idriss Deby made the statement after a summit in Paris on Saturday that also included Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan and representatives from West African countries Cameroon, Benin, Niger plus the United States, the European Union, Britain and France.
“There is determination to tackle this situation head on…to launch a war, a total war on Boko Haram,” Deby said after the meeting, which was aimed at finding a common strategy to fight the armed group.
French President Francois Hollande had called the summit following the kidnapping of hundreds of schoolgirls in Nigeria last month.
The leaders who attended the meeting agreed on tightened border controls, shared intelligence and to take a collaborative approach when fighting the armed group.
Jonathan said Boko Haram had evolved from a small group to being part of the broader al-Qaeda organization.
“Boko Haram is no longer the local terror group with some regional sentiment that started in Nigeria in 2002 to 2009,” Jonathan said.
“From 2009 to date, it has changed and is operating clearly as an al-Qaeda organization. It can better be described as an al-Qaeda in West and Central Africa.”
Francois Hollande, the French president, said Boko Haram had clearly established ties with other “terror” groups in Africa, making it a problem throughout the continent and beyond.
“The message we want to send is that we know the threat. It is serious, it is serious for the region, for Africa and so for Europe. We have deployed our military and intelligence system to find these young girls,” Hollande said.
The 276 schoolgirls and women were kidnapped on April 15 from a school in Chibok. Most of them are still being held captive, with the group’s leader threatening to sell them into slavery.
In February, another 59 students were killed when fighters attacked a boarding school in Yobe state, setting several buildings on fire.
Two bombs also exploded in a crowded bus station in Abuja on April 14, killing 88 people and injuring more than 200 others.