69 die in Nigeria attacks, UN condemns it (Lead)

November 6th, 2011 - 5:35 pm ICT by IANS  

Accra/United Nations, Nov 6 (IANS) At least 69 people have been killed in bomb and gun attacks, blamed on an Islamist militant group, in two towns in Nigeria, the Red Cross said. The UN Security Council condemned it and and reiterated that “terrorism in all its forms and manifestations is criminal and unjustifiable”.

The Nigerian Red Cross confirmed that at least 69 people were dead while unconfirmed sources say over 100 people were killed in the northern-eastern towns of Damaturu and Potiskum in Yobe State following bomb and gun attacks that have been blamed on the Islamist militant group, Boko Haram.

“Boko Haram had told some media organisations early Friday of its intention to bomb several targets across the country. They followed up their threats with bombs that hit several targets, including churches and the headquarters of the Yobe State police,” Nuhu Audu, an aid worker in Abuja told IANS on phone.

Audu said: “The total number of dead would not be known for days because conflicting figures (are) being churned out. Some people claim they counted over 100 dead bodies.”

He said there had been media reports that “some disturbances erupted on Friday night in Kurmi Bi village…one person was shot dead and another seriously injured by unknown gunmen in another attack behind the palace of the traditional ruler of the area, Agwam Bajju.”

Boko Haram wants strict Shariah law across Nigeria, which has a majority Christian population in the South. The group also believes that Western education is not in tune with the teachings of Islam.

In August, the group bombed the UN headquarters in Nigeria, and has claimed responsibility for similar attacks in the northern states of the country in the past.

Concerned about the attacks, President Goodluck Jonathan cancelled a trip Saturday to his home state of Bayelsa to attend his younger brother’s wedding, his spokesman Reuben Abati said.

Abati said the presidency did not consider those who launched the attacks “true Muslims as the assault came during a holy period”.

Security has been beefed up in capital Abuja.

“…You know what has been happening in the North. The multiple attacks on Friday night won’t be treated with kids’ gloves. We have to be proactive. Yes, Abuja’s security is going to be water tight as from today (Sunday),” the Punch newspaper quoted Federal Capital commissioner of Police Alhaji Suleiman Lawal as saying.

The UN Security Council condemned the bomb attacks in northern Nigeria and said “terrorism in all its forms and manifestations is criminal and unjustifiable”.

The condemnation was contained in a statement issued Saturday by Jose Filipe Moraes Cabral, Portugal’s UN ambassador who holds the rotating Security Council presidency for November.

“The members of the Security Council condemned in the strongest terms the terrorist attacks that occurred in Damaturu and Potiskum, Nigeria, on Nov 4, 2011, causing numerous deaths and injuries,” the statement said.

“The members of the Security Council expressed their deep sympathy and condolences to the victims of these heinous crimes and their families, and to the people and government of Nigeria,” the statement said.

“The members of the Security Council reaffirmed that terrorism in all its forms and manifestations is criminal and unjustifiable, regardless of its motivation, wherever, whenever and by whomsoever committed and should not be associated with any religion, nationality, civilization or ethnic group,” the UN Security Council said in the statement.

“The members of the Security Council reaffirmed the need to combat by all means, in accordance with the charter of the United Nations, threats to international peace and security caused by terrorist acts,” it added.

Also on Saturday, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon condemned the bomb attacks, reiterating his firm conviction “that no objective sought can justify this resort to violence”.

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