Multiple attacks in Nigeria kill at least 143
The series of coordinated attacks were attributed to a radical Islamic group.
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The U.S. Embassy said it had canceled all staff travel to northern Nigeria after Friday's attacks.Skip to next paragraph
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President Goodluck Jonathan also condemned an attack he said saw innocent people "brutally and recklessly cut down by agents of terror."
"As a responsible government, we will not fold our hands and watch enemies of democracy, for that is what these mindless killers are, perpetrate unprecedented evil in our land," Jonathan said in a statement. "I want to reassure Nigerians ... that all those involved in that dastardly act would be made to face the full wrath of the law."
But Jonathan's government has repeatedly been unable to stop attacks by Boko Haram, whose name means "Western education is sacrilege" in the Hausa language of Nigeria's north. The group has carried out increasingly sophisticated and bloody attacks in its campaign to implement strict Shariah law and avenge the deaths of Muslims in communal violence across Nigeria, a multiethnic nation of more than 160 million people.
Authorities blamed Boko Haram for at least 510 killings last year alone, according to an AP count, including an August suicide bombing on the U.N. headquarters in the country's capital Abuja. So far this year, the group has been blamed for at least 219 killings, according to an AP count.
Boko Haram recently said it specifically would target Christians living in Nigeria's north, but Friday's attack saw its gunmen kill many Muslims. In a recent video posted to the Internet, Imam Abubakar Shekau, a Boko Harm leader, warned it would kill anyone who "betrays the religion" by being part of or sympathizing with Nigeria's government.
"I swear by Allah we will kill them and their killing will be nothing to us," Shekau said. "It will be like going to prayers at 5 a.m."
Friday's attacks also could cause more unrest, as violence in Kano has set off attacks throughout the north in the past, including postelection violence in April that saw 800 people killed. Kano, an ancient city, remains important in the history of Islam in Nigeria and has important religious figures there today.
Amid the recent unrest and attacks, at least two journalists have been killed in Nigeria. Journalist Enenche Akogwu, who worked as a correspondent in Kano for private news station Channels Television, was shot Friday while reporting on the attacks, colleagues said. In central Nigeria's city of Jos, Nansok Sallah, a news editor for a government-owned radio station called Highland FM, was found dead in a shallow stream Thursday, the victim of an apparent murder, the Committee to Protect Journalists said.