Africa

Attacking The Messenger In Nigeria

Suicide bombers attacked newspaper offices in Abuja and Kaduna, Nigeria, recently, killing at least 13 people.

Police anti-bomb officers stand on the burnt engine of the Jeep used by the suicide bomber that ravaged This Day Newspapers.
Police anti-bomb officers stand on the burnt engine of the Jeep used by the suicide bomber that ravaged This Day Newspapers.

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Suicide bombers attacked newspaper offices in Abuja and Kaduna, Nigeria, recently, killing at least 13 people. The April 26 bomb strikes continued a string of bombings across Northern Nigeria by extremists targeting local authorities, police and civilians. The United States condemns the attacks and our thoughts and prayers are with the families and loved ones of those who were killed and injured.

In Abuja, a car loaded with explosives managed to crash into the offices of “This Day,” a prominent Nigerian newspaper. The explosion killed at least three people and caused a large fire. Later in the city of Kaduna north of Abuja, a second bomb attack on the paper’s office there killed at least ten people. The extremist group Boko Haram, which is tied to many of the attacks, has claimed responsibility for the newspaper bombings and warned that it would attack more journalists over what the group said was inaccurate news coverage. Included in the warning were the Voice of America and Radio France International.

These attacks represent a dangerous escalation in the violence against civil authorities in Northern Nigeria. By targeting media, the extremists are attacking not only innocents, but the idea of free speech itself. By targeting churches and places of worship, the extremists are attacking not only innocents, but freedom of religion.  The United States stands together with all people of good will who repudiate these kinds of outrageous attacks. We support those who recognize Nigeria’s diversity as one of the country’s greatest strengths. Lawless violence and intimidation have no place in a democracy.

The United States supports the Nigerian authorities in their efforts to bring the perpetrators of these violent acts to justice. In this, we stress the importance of respecting human rights and protecting civilians in all security operations.

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