Friday’s attack was claimed by a sect known locally as Boko Haram, whose name means “Western education is sacrilege” in the local Hausa language. The sect wants to implement a strict version of Shariah law in the nation and has carried out increasingly bloody sectarian attacks targeting the nation’s weak central government from its base in northeast Nigeria.
Nigeria, a nation of 150 million people, is split largely between a Christian south and a Muslim north. Unemployment and unceasing poverty, coming despite the nation making billions a year from oil production, has fueled resentment in recent years in the north.
However, moderate Muslims remain horrified of the bombings in the country. The spiritual leader of the nation’s Muslims, Sultan of Sokoto Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar III, condemned the bombings in a message Wednesday marking the end of Ramadan
“We should not allow our enemies to cause us to commit acts prohibited by our religion, and the perpetrators should desist from such acts and rather seek for avenues of dialogue with the leaders on the problems confronting the nation,” Sultan Abubakar said.
Associated Press writer Ibrahim Garba in Kano, Nigeria, contributed to this report.