Following Friday’s fatal attacks by radical Islamist group Boko Haram, Nigerian police reported the discovery of cars and vans filled with explosives in the country’s second largest city, Kano, Monday.
Since the attacks, Nigerian officials have beefed up security, instituting vehicle checkpoints that led to the discovery of the undetonated bomb cache.
"The police were on a stop-and-search today and in two of the checkpoints, the Boko Haram members on sighting the checkpoints abandoned their vehicles and ran," an unnamed high-level police officer told Reuters.
"The vehicles were later checked and the cars were loaded with explosives. Two brand new Hilux open pick-up vans were also found packed with explosives in the Bompai area of Kano."
At least 178 people died Friday when the group unleashed a coordinated series of bomb detonations and shooting sprees in Kano, bringing the city to a halt. Most of the attacks targeted police stations and eyewitnesses say that Boko Haram members even donned police uniforms to confuse victims.
"They just came into the barracks in mobile police uniforms soon after the explosions at the police command and took the advantage of the situation, shooting every person they saw running for safety," another unnamed officer told the Nigerian Daily Trust.
Boko Haram has since taken formal responsibility for the attacks, calling the Kano carnage payback for past mistreatment of its members. According to Boko Haram spokesman Abdul Qaqa, the group published an open letter addressed to several Kano officials and the city’s general population, warning of the attacks and relaying the group's desire to avenge their alleged mistreatment.
"The message here is that everybody knows that a lot of our people were killed in Kano State, especially in Wudil town,” Qaqa told Nigerian reporters.
More attacks were launched in the neighboring state of Bauchi on Sunday, with explosions rocking two churches and leaving at least ten dead after police fought to keep gunmen from robbing a bank.
The increase in terrorist violence lately has given international political analysts pause to question the stability of Nigeria and the efficacy of its leadership.
“Those causing havoc will never succeed ... The federal government will not rest until the perpetrators are brought to book. We will not rest until these terrorist are wiped out," President Goodluck Jonathan said Sunday.
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