Bomb Blasts Hit Northern Nigeria

Posted January 5th, 2012 at 6:30 am (UTC-5)
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Bombs have exploded in two northern Nigerian cities, less than a week after the country's president declared a state of emergency in the region.

Authorities said there were no casualties late Wednesday when the blasts hit the cities of Maiduguri and Damaturu.

A purported spokesman for the Nigerian militant group Boko Haram said the group was behind the bombings. He said the attacks marked the end of a three-day deadline the group gave for southerners living in northern Nigeria to move away.

In another incident Wednesday in Damaturu, gunmen shot dead two people.

President Goodluck Jonathan declared a state of emergency in 15 locations Saturday, after months of deadly violence that authorities blame on Boko Haram.

The group has claimed responsibility for numerous bombings and shootings across the north and in the capital, Abuja, including a Christmas Day bombing of a Catholic church.

Mr. Jonathan has vowed to crush Boko Haram, which first staged a violent uprising against Nigeria's government in 2009. The group's size and structure remain unclear.

The state of emergency gives security forces control of the areas in which the declaration applies. It also closes parts of Nigeria's borders with Niger, Chad, and Cameroon.