8th March, 2012
In what could be described as fresh madness, unidentified gunmen on Wednesday evening attacked banks, police stations and shops in Ashaka, in Gombe State, Northwest Nigeria.
Ashaka is home to popular Ashaka Cement factory listed on the Nigerian Stock Exchange.
Similarly, explosions rocked Gaidam and Potiskum in Yobe State Northeast Nigeria on Wednesday evening.
Explosions were also heard close to Nigerian border in Borno State about the same time.
A source told the News Agency of Nigeria, NAN, that the explosions in Ashaka started at about 8 p.m. on Wednesday and it lasted for about an hour.
According to the source the blasts were accompanied by gunshots. Residents ran to safety while the explosions lasted.
The Gombe State Commissioner of Police, Mr. Orubebe Ghandi confirmed the incident.
But he advised residents not to panic as the police were on top of the situation.
He said he was yet to receive the details of the incident but his men had commenced investigation into the incident.
Recently, Islamic militants have targeted their attacks on police stations where they steal arms and ammunition and raid banks for money to prosecute their operations.
This year alone, Boko Haram members have attacked, damaged or destroyed at least 12 schools around Maiduguri, the Borno State capital. Thousands of school children have been denied access to western education following the attacks.
Three of the schools, Kalagunma Primary School, Abbaganaram School and Budum Primary School were set on fire.
In a coordinated attack, four other primary schools were burnt while two secondary schools with an estimated enrolment of about 700 students were also set on fire.
Sunshine Stars Secondary School and Success Secondary School were completely razed by men suspected to be Boko Haram sect members.
P.M.NEWS gathered that two members of Boko Haram who are presently in the custody of State Security Service, SSS, operatives, Abu Qaqa and Kabiru Sokoto have offered reasons while the Islamists attack schools and churches.
According to the two men, Boko Haram was attacking schools because they were opposed to western education. They believed that children should be given only Islamic education. It is also their intention to avenge the alleged attacks on Islamic schools by people they perceived as enemies of Islam.
Qaqa and Sokoto, it was learnt, told SSS that Boko Haram was not happy that the Sultan of Sokoto is the leader of Muslims in Nigeria. Instead, they want the Sultan to retain his political leadership while Boko Haram leader will be the spiritual leader of Muslims in the country.
They claimed the sect was attacking churches because they propagate a belief that was against Islam.
Qaqa and Sokoto added that the objective of Boko Haram include first, to Islamise the north and later the whole of Nigeria.
Sokoto was reported to have told SSS officials that only a few of Boko Haram members who had western education could not convince the majority who were opposed to it for fear of being labeled traitors and the consequence of losing their lives.
Since the resurgence of Boko Haram last year, hundreds of people have been killed through bomb attacks in Kano, Kaduna, Borno, Yobe, Gombe and Suleja near Abuja.
—Moyo Fabiyi with agency report