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Bishop urges Nigerians to be on the lookout for potential bombers

By on Friday, 2 August 2013

People gather at the site of an explosion in Sabon Gari, Nigeria (AP)

People gather at the site of an explosion in Sabon Gari, Nigeria (AP)

Nigerians who live in areas targeted by Islamist insurgents Boko Haram must be observant and vigilant about happenings around them, said a bishop in an area hit by recent bombings.

Bishop John Namaza Niyiring of Kano, in northern Nigeria, said that citizens might notice unattended packages and should report them to police before bombs are detonated.

He spoke two days after a series of blasts killed at least 12 people in Sabon Gari, a region primarily inhabited by people from southern Nigeria. Unofficial reports put the death toll at more than 20.

He also said one of the three blasts occurred near a Catholic parish at the end of a prayer meeting. Several people were killed and others remained hospitalised, he said.

“The people have also relaxed nowadays” as opposed to several months ago, after Boko Haram insurgents bombed Sabon Gari and killed several passengers in a luxury bus that was scheduled to travel to eastern Nigeria.

The bishop told American Catholic News Service that the diocese has continued to increase security around the parishes. He said young people had been trained in how to identify suspicious characters and call police.

In May, the Nigerian government declared a state of emergency to fight Boko Haram, a sect that wants to impose strict Islamic law. In recent months, the sect has targeted schools. The death toll in Boko Haram-related violence since 2009 ranges from more than 2,000 to up to 3,600.