Voice of America (Washington, DC)

Nigeria: Boko Haram Claims Responsibility for Abuja Bombing

The Nigerian militant group known as Boko Haram has claimed responsibility for a bombing in the capital Abuja on April 14 that killed 75 people.

In the video message, Abubakar Shekau, the man who says he ordered the bombing, says nothing about the mass abduction of more than 100 teenage girls, most of whom are still missing.

At a hospital in Abuja, survivors fill rooms and the hallways. Some are unconscious, others slowly sip Ovaltine and milk.

"I was about to enter the bus when I heard the bomb sound, boom! Then I fell down and my face was shattered," said Sahadu, a civil servant who was on his way to work when the bomb went off.

The attack on the bus station, Nyanya, was the first attack in the capital since 2012. Hours after the bombing, blood still stained the ground and stunned crowds quietly stared at the bomb site.

Boko Haram, an insurgent group that has killed thousands of people in the past few years, usually launches attacks in the northeast. The government has deployed thousands of troops in efforts to crush the insurgency.

But analysts say violence is still increasing, and 1,500 people have been killed in the first three months of this year alone.

"It raises questions about the use of resources because never in the history of this country has so much money been devoted to defense," said Clement Nwankwo, who is with the Policy and Legal Advocacy Centre in Abuja. "And yet there's very little evidence of the impact of the spending on the effectiveness of the spending in the fight against terrorism."

Northern security forces were also on high alert last week after more than 100 girls were abducted from a school. Boko Haram has not claimed responsibility but the group, which is believed to have many factions, is widely blamed.

Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor, president of the Christian Association of Nigeria, says despite the increase in violence and the increase in spending, the Nigerian military is doing the best it can with the resources it has.

"We must commend our military men. If you pull them out, for example, that part of the country would be lost completely," he said. "So they are doing well, but they have challenges."

Unpredictable guerilla warfare, not enough soldiers and small pockets of support for Boko Haram among civilians and officials are among those challenges, he says.

Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan called an emergency security meeting last week, but decision-making was postponed because opposition leaders, including the governors of the states under emergency rule, did not attend.

At another hospital across town, men wait for the body of their friend and brother to be released for burial.

Mutula Ibrahim lost three brothers in the Abuja bombing.

"There's no place in Nigeria that doesn't know pain. Armed robbers, accidents, bombings can happen anywhere," he said.

Mutula says the government cannot, or maybe will not, stop the attacks, so the only thing left for them to do is to pray for peace.

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