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article imageSuspected Boko Haram agents kill 7 in newspaper office bombings

By JohnThomas Didymus     Apr 26, 2012 in World
Abuja - Three people were killed when a suicide bomber detonated explosives loaded in a car at the office of ThisDay, a major Nigerian newspaper in Abuja. In a separate incident, a man threw a bomb at a newspaper office complex in Kaduna killing four people.
The attack in Abuja was targeted at the office of ThisDay, while the attack in Kaduna was targeted at a building housing the offices of three separate newspapers: ThisDay, The Moment and The Daily Sun.
No group has claimed responsibility for the Thursday attacks but local security officials believe they were carried out by Boko Haram, a radical Islamist sect that has been responsible for similar killings in recent times.
AP reports that in the Abuja attack, the bomber crashed his car through the gates and drove to the reception area where he detonated the bomb. AFP , however, reports that the chairman of ThisDay's editorial board, Olusegun Adeniyi, told reporters that security men opened the gate and allowed the driver in. Adeniyi said: "The guy drove in through the gate and rammed into the building and exploded...fortunately the newsroom is a bit far from the back of the building, so all the people in the newsroom...are all safe."
According to AP, Nwakpa O. Nwakpa, spokesperson for the Nigerian Red Cross, said at least three people died in the blast and several others were wounded. The suicide bomber also died in the blast.
The roof of the building was ripped off and the windows shattered with most of the damage to the building being at the side housing the printing press. Fire and smoke billowed from the premises and tables were overturned and debris scattered in the newsroom at the other end of the building.
AP reports that an eyewitness in the Kaduna attack, said the car driver began shouting to warn people that there was a bomb in the car. Then he opened the trunk and pulled an explosive and threw it. The explosion killed at least four people. AFP reports that 19 people were wounded.
Two people were in the car. Civilians caught one of them and handed him over to the police. He was identified as Umaru Umaru Mustapha of Maiduguri.
AP reports that a police source said the man "pulled out a pistol and fired several shots in the air in an attempt to escape. He was however caught and subdued by brave members of the public who refused to be intimidated and handed him over to security forces."
Police then detonated other explosives in the car by firing shots at it.
A third incident occurred on the outskirts of Kaduna late Thursday afternoon. According to AFP, a suspected Boko Haram member planted a bomb on a road. The explosion wounded three people.
AP reports it was not clear why the bombers targeted ThisDay. However, ThisDay has been involved in controversial incidents in the past. In 2002, an article in the paper suggested that Prophet Muhammad would have been happy to marry a Miss World pageant contestant. The statement sparked off a riot in which dozens were killed in Kaduna.
But an official of ThisDay, Gbayode Somuyiwa, said he was not aware of any specific reasons why the paper was targeted this time.
In January, Boko Haram gunmen shot and killed a journalist with the private network Channels Television while he was filming an attack scene.
More about This day, The Daily Sun, Bomb, The Moment, Boko Haram
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