Gunmen attacked church services on the campus of Bayero University in the city of Kano, Nigeria, on Sunday. The attackers used explosives to draw the worshipers out and then opened fire on them as the fled, killing about 20 people and wounding several.
According to AP, Kano state police spokesman Ibrahim Idris, said the gunmen attacked Christians while they were worshiping in a hall in the old section of the university. The police spokesman said: "By the time we responded, they entered (their) motorcycles and disappeared into the neighborhood."
AFP reports that gunfire rocked Bayero University as attackers targeted two church services on the campus. One of the services was held outdoors while the second was a Catholic Mass held in a hall. AFP correspondent who was at the site said he counted six bullet-riddled bodies and at least a dozen others on a roadside.
Witnesses said the attackers arrived in a car and two motorcycles, and opened fire, throwing homemade bombs. In the stampede that followed, people were gunned down as they tried to escape. According to a witness: "They first attacked the open-air service outside the faculty of medicine. They threw in explosives and fired shots, causing a stampede among worshipers. They now pursued them, shooting them with guns...They also attacked another service at the sporting complex."
A witness at the sporting complex said they heard gunshots and "then there was pandemonium." He said he saw two men outside the complex shooting indiscriminately.
Vanguard Nigeria reports the attacks were targeted at worshipers at Theater Two near the Sport Complex. A rescue worker told Vanguard: “We have recovered 14 dead bodies so far and transferred same to Murtala Muhammad Specialist Hospital.”
Security personnel cordoned off the campus after the attack and according to AP, they initially refused to let journalists in. According to Abubakar Jibril, spokesman for Nigeria's Emergency Management Agency, the security forces also initially refused to allow rescue workers enter the campus.
No group has claimed responsibility for the morning attacks but local officials say they believe Boko Haram insurgents carried out the attack. AP reports the men used improvised explosives in aluminum soda cans, a method previously used by Boko Haram insurgents.
Boko Haram has been carrying out guerrilla attacks in the northern part of Nigeria, using guns and suicide car bombs. The attacks have been targeted at the civil populace and at police stations.
This is the second major attack the sect has carried out in Kano. In January, a series of co-ordinated attacks on government buildings and police stations left over 180 people dead. Digital Journal reports that on Thursday, the sect carried out attacks targeted at major newspaper offices in Kaduna and Abuja, in which at least seven people were killed.
Government attempts at dialogue with the Boko Haram insurgents failed in March when the group said it did not trust the government.
AFP reports President Goodluck Jonathan on Saturday visited the newspaper offices hit in Abuja. He was asked whether he thought dialogue could stop the insurgency. He said: "You may dialogue, you may not dialogue depending on the circumstances. But we will exploit every means possible to bring this to an end."