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Nigerian forces raid suspected Boko Haram bomb factory

While Nigerian security forces have succeeded in arresting senior members of Boko Haram, the Islamist militant group has shown signs of growing sophistication in its methods.

By Ibrahim GarbaContributor / April 24, 2012



Kano, Nigeria

In the early morning hours of Tuesday, a Nigerian military joint task force invaded a suspected Boko Haram bomb factory in a suburb of the restive northern city of Kano. Meanwhile, five members of the Boko Haram Islamic militant group were killed yesterday while preparing improvised explosive devices that exploded in Biu town of Borno state.

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Borno is the state where Boko Haram, whose name means "Western education is a sin," originated. Biu is one of the five local governments placed under a state of emergency since January by the Nigerian federal government as Boko Haram stepped up its attacks on the government and the north's minority Christians. Boko Haram's stated goal is to overturn secular rule in northern Nigeria, where Islam is the majority faith, and to ensure that Christians no longer reside in the region.

Since their rebellion began in 2009, Boko Haram has used bombs against security forces and civilian targets in different parts of the country. But while Nigerian security forces have succeeded in arresting senior members of Boko Haram, including its leader Muhammad Yusuf, who was killed in custody in 2009, Boko Haram has shown signs of growing sophistication. In particular, the group has borrowed improvised explosive technologies and suicide bombing techniques from Al Qaeda franchises.

A truck bomb in June 2011 killed dozens, and destroyed much of the United Nations' country headquarters in the capital city of Abuja. Kano, where the bomb factory was raided today, saw a series of bomb blasts on Jan. 20 that killed killed more than 180 people. 

Lt. Ikedichi Iweha, the Nigerian military spokesman of the joint military task force (JTF) in the state, said two women and a couple of children were rescued by the task force who were found in the Kano house-turned-bomb factory.

“Pressure is consistently mounted on them [Boko Haram] by the security, and people should not be afraid as security agencies are trying to ensure that Nigeria is safe and we are always appealing to people to report any suspicious person or movement in their community," Lt. Iweha said.

According to Iweha, items recovered at the house includes improvised device explosive (IEDs), assorted containers, liquids, charcoal, and a film about Osama bin Laden entitled "Osama bin Laden death at last."

“Two women and couple of children we have rescued them and taken away for investigation, and the house will be brought down using a military armored carrier,” he added.

Two armored personnel carriers and armed security officers cordoned off the house, while the residents were seen saluting the military after the operation, a sign of public support.

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