Abuja: Radical Islamic terror group Boko Haram has claimed responsibility for the bombings at offices of major Nigerian newspapers in the capital city of Abuja and neighbouring Kaduna state and warned of more such attacks.
The bombings, which took place on Thursday, killed eight people.
Boko Haram, in a statement published in a news website Premium Times, claimed that the press was not reporting the group accurately. It said the group attacked Thisday to send a strong message to the media that it would no longer condone reports misrepresenting it in the press, or blaming it for acts it knows nothing about.
“The media in Nigeria are not a problem to us if they do their jobs professionally without taking sides,” a spokesman for the group said using the nom de guerre Abu Qaqa, adding that each time they say something, it is either changed or downplayed.
“But when our enemy says something even without logical proof, it is blown out of proportion,” Qaqa said.
“We have repeatedly cautioned reporters and media houses to be professional and objective in their reports. This is a war between us and the Government of Nigeria; unfortunately the media have not been objective and fair in their report of the ongoing war, they chose to take side,” he said.
Qaqa further warned of more attacks on media.
“We have just started this new campaign against the media and we will not stop here, we will hit the media hard since they have refused to listen to our plea for them to be fair in their reportage,” he said. The Abuja office of Thisday came under heavy attack when a suicide bomber rammed his car into the building housing the media outfit’s press triggering an explosion.
Three support staff of the company including security men were killed in Abuja.
A reporter Senator Iroegbu who sustained minor injuries said the effect reverberated at every part of the building where he was and smoke filled everywhere forcing him to escape.
“The roof of the building was blown off, company and staff vehicles were also destroyed. I am certainly sure of the death of the two security men at the gate,” he said. Chairman, Editorial Board of Thisday newspapers, Segun Adeniyi, said: “Our office was bombed and two of our security men and the suicide bomber died while five of our support staffs were injured and have been taken to the hospital.”
Later, the company issued a press statement signed by its managing director, Eniola Bello, saying that it confirmed the death of one security man by name of Christopher Sadiq. Three passers-by and a suicide bomber died in the attack.
Thisday said it regards the bombing as an attack on journalism and free speech assuring its readers of their unwavering commitment to the “truth and reason”.
The suicide bomber in Kaduna offices of Thisday, the Sun and Moment newspapers was arrested by the police and has been taken into custody. At least three people were killed in an explosion at the Kaduna bombing. About eight people were also seriously injured. The bomber was said to have driven dangerously to the premises in a Honda Accord (popularly known as Honda Academy) with registration number Al 306 MKA at about 11 am (local time), hitting a part of the gate with the hope of detonating the bomb.
The bomber jumped out of his car before it exploded.
Eye witnesses said the man immediately ran out, abandoning the car at premises when the bomb did not detonate immediately and started shouting.
On April 17, the US had warned its citizens of possible attack by Nigerian Islamic militants in the country’s capital territory, Abuja including top hotels located within the city.
The warning placed on the US embassy website said it got information that radical Islamic sect Boko Haram was planning an attack within the city and targeting hotels used by Westerners.
But the warning was dismissed by the oil-rich African country’s National Security Adviser Andrew Azazi. He said the security forces have been watching over the hotels mention.
Boko Haram claims to be waging a war to install an Islamic government and Sharia rule in Africa’s largest oil producer.
The group’s insurgency has been growing in Nigeria and an attack in the northern city of Kano with multiple bombings and gun shots killed no fewer than 185 persons on January 20. A suicide bomb attack by the group at the United Nations headquarters in Abuja in July killed 26 persons. The group has also bombed churches and attacked mosques making its motive somehow hazy.