Violence mars end of Ramadan

As Muslims throughout the world celebrated the end of Ramadan with the Eid al Fitr festival, the Nigerian Islamist group – Boko Haram – unleashed further violence and death on their fellow Muslims, attacking worshippers in Gombe Central Market on Thursday and, on Friday, in Damaturu, Yobe State – bothin the northwestern part of Nigeria.

In both cases female suicide bombers were used.

About 50 people are estimated to have died in the Gombe Central market atrocity. In Damaturu they blew themselves up at a praying ground and near a mosque as Muslims gathered for morning prayers on the occasion of the Muslim festival.

It is not clear how many were killed but it is estimated to be several dozen, all innocent people whom Boko Haram have decreed are not ‘true’ Muslims because they do not follow Islam as they decree it should be followed.

“No amount of terrorist acts would deter our resolve to stamp out terrorism and insurgency in our fatherland,” said Colonel Sani Kukasheka Usman, a spokesman for the Nigerian Army.

Nigerians are growing tired of such Army statements promising to defeat Boko Haram. At least 13,000 Nigerians are reported killed by the group, according to Amnesty International. The number displaced is in the tens of thousands.

Nigerians expected that their new President, elected on 29 May last – Muhammadu Buhari – would bring an end to this violence but, in fact, the violence has increased. President Buhari has moved the military HQ from Abuja to the north west of the country to try to stem the violence. He has replaced many leading military men in the hope that new military leaders will be more effective and committed to the fight against Boko Haram. 

Read a Business Day report on the Gombe attack.

Read a BBC report on the Friday attack.