Two weeks, and two bombings in the city of Kaduna (estimated population 760,084 for the city, 6,066,562 for the state).
A suspected suicide bomber disguised in military uniform was killed on Tuesday when his car bomb exploded under fire from soldiers outside a military base in the northern Nigerian city of Kaduna, the army said.
A Nigerian bomb disposal officer has been killed when an explosive device he was trying to defuse went off, a police spokesperson has said.
The device was wrapped in a carrier bag and hidden behind an electricity pole in the residential area of Ungwar Sarki in the northern city of Kaduna.
A BBC correspondent at the scene says the police bomb squad was called in after reports of a first explosion.
Boko Haram has claimed responsibility for last week’s bombing (Hausa), and I expect they are behind this week’s attack too.
There are a few trends I see at work in these attacks on Kaduna:
- Boko Haram shows a continued ability to strike targets outside of its base, the Northeast. With the bombings in Abuja last summer, the strike in Kano on January 20, and other recent activities, Boko Haram (or its franchises, if one believes the movement has a loose internal structure) seems to be waging two campaigns simultaneously: a guerrilla campaign of frequent micro-attacks (such as assassinations of individual police officers) in the Northeast, and a terrorist campaign of periodic large-scale attacks elsewhere.
- With that said, Boko Haram is experimenting with moving into the Northwest more seriously. Boko Haram seems interested not just in conducting periodic attacks as spectacle, but in bringing to Northwestern cities like Kano and Kaduna the kind of regular violence that has characterized its presence in Maiduguri for over a year.
- Boko Haram’s primary target remains the government, especially the security forces.
- Kaduna, like Jos, may provide an attractive target if one of Boko Haram’s goals is to increase interreligious tensions across the North and across Nigeria. Kaduna has a larger (estimated) percentage of Christians of Christians than Kano or Maiduguri. Kaduna also has a history of interreligious and inter-communal tension and violence that precedes Boko Haram’s arrival by a decade. Major riots in Kaduna occurred in 2000, 2002, and during the post-election violence of last April. Attacks by Boko Haram in Kaduna could lead to a more general climate of fear and mistrust, one that could re-activate the city (and Kaduna State’s) cycle of violence.
- Kaduna arguably has greater security than other cities where Boko Haram is trying to establish a foothold. Both of the recent attacks have been partly repelled by security forces.