Suicide bombers hit cellphone firms in north Nigeria

Sat Dec 22, 2012 7:08am EST
 

By Augustine Madu

KANO, Nigeria (Reuters) - Two suicide car bombers attacked the offices of two mobile phone operators on Saturday in Nigeria's northern city of Kano, killing themselves but no civilians, police said.

India's Airtel and South Africa's MTN were the targets.

Islamist sect Boko Haram has previously blown up telephone masts and offices of phone companies, saying they help the security forces catch its members.

"The one who hit the Airtel office was shot by military men before the bomb exploded ... at the MTN office the car rammed into the fence but no civilians were killed," Ibrahim Idris, the chief of police in Kano, told Reuters. Both bombs went off.

A military source said one security guard was injured and has been taken to hospital.

MTN and Airtel Nigeria's parent company Bharti Airtel, India's top cellphone operator, gave no immediate comment.

The national emergency agency confirmed the bombings and said it was not aware of any civilian casualties. The security forces have played down the death toll in previous bombings.

At least 2,800 people have died in fighting in the largely Muslim north since Boko Haram launched an uprising against the government in 2009, watchdog Human Rights Watch says.   Continued...