By BosNewsLife Africa Service
ABUJA, NIGERIA (BosNewsLife)– Dozens of people have been killed in a series of explosions that rocked a bus station in the Christian neighborhood of Nigeria’s northern city of Kano.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the five explosions, but the Islamic group Boko Haram has been linked to other attacks against Christians and churches in the city.
Witnesses said several buses were destroyed in Monday’s attack in the Sabon Gari district – which is home to many Christians from southern Nigeria.
The violence turned the area into a war zone, with at least 25 people dead and scores of people injured, police said.
“I ran for my dear life and managed to get out of the park after the second blast. Many people are lying dead. See, my clothes are covered in blood,” Reuters news agency quoted witness Ibrahim Bello, as saying, holding up a blood-soaked shirt.
The coordinated bombing came as an audio tape emerged of a man saying he was the father of a family of seven French tourists kidnapped by Boko Haram militants.
In the tape obtained by Reuters news agency the man believed to be Tanguy Moulin-Fournier appealed to Cameroon to free Boko Haram prisoners as a condition of his family’s release.
Boko Haram, which means ‘Western education is a sin’, has a presence in Nigeria, Cameroon, Niger and Chad, where the four meet on the threshold of the Sahara.
“They don’t want to enter in conflict with Cameroon. However, if you arrest their men again in Cameroon, they will multiply kidnapping and suicide bombing operations more in Cameroon than in Nigeria,” the man reportedly said.
“We have been detained for 25 days. The living conditions are harsh and hot in the desert. We are losing strength every day and are becoming sick. We cannot stay long like this,” he said, adding that his youngest child was only four.
Boko Haram wants to establish a strictly Islamic state within Nigeria, adding to concerns among Christians in what is Africa’s most populous nation and largest oil producer.
Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan, a Christian, has come under pressure to improve protection of Christians and churches in the north, though he claims security forces have stepped up patrols in the region.
A statement from his office said that this “barbaric incident will not deter the federal government from its strong-willed determination to overcome those who do not mean well for this nation”.