The wife of Cameroon’s Vice-Prime Minister Amadou Ali was kidnapped and at least three people killed in attacks by Boko Haram militants on the northern town of Kolofata on Sunday, Cameroon officials said.
The incident occurred just as gunmen suspected to be Boko Haram insurgents attacked a Catholic Church in Kano, killing a soldier, a toddler and three other worshippers.
Improvised Explosive Devices concealed in a refgrigator by a cart pusher had gone off in a motor park in the city on Thursday, killing five people and injuring many.
The Lamido (religious leader) of the area, Seini Boukar Lamine, according to a news agency, Reuters, was kidnapped in a second attack in Kolofata.
“I can confirm that the home of Vice Prime Minister Amadou Ali in Kolofata came under a savage attack from Boko Haram militants,” Issa Tchiroma told Reuters by telephone.
“They unfortunately took away his wife. They also attacked the Lamido’s residence and he was also kidnapped,” he said, confirming that at least three people were killed in the attack.
A Cameroon military commander in the region said the Vice PM, who was at home to celebrate the Muslim feast of Ramadan with his family, was taken to a neighbouring town by security officials.
“The situation is very critical here now, and as I am talking to you the Boko Haram elements are still in Kolofata town in a clash with our soldiers,” said Col. Felix Nji Formekong, the second commander of Cameroon’s third inter-army military region, based in the regional headquarters, Maroua.
The Sunday attacks are the third by Boko Haram in Cameroon since Friday. At least four soldiers were killed in the previous attacks.
Reuters added that 22 suspected Boko Haram militants, who had been held in Maroua since March, were on Friday sentenced to prison terms ranging from 10 to 20 years.
In Kano, a soldier and four worshipers died when gunmen threw IEDs at the Saint Charles Catholic Church along the Zungeru Road, Kano.
The incident which occurred when worshipers were trooping out of the church after a mass, caused pandemonium in the neighbourhood.
The Force Public Relations Officer, Mr. Frank Mba and the Kano State Commissioner of police, Mr. Adelenre Shinaba, confirmed the death of five people in the Kano blast.
Before the church incident in which eight others were injured, an attempt to attack the Isyaku Rabiu Mosque in Kano was averted by the Police.
Mba said, “As part of the ongoing investigations into the various terror-related incidents that occurred in Kano, Police operatives have arrested five male suspects for their complicity in the attack and botched attack.
“Two were arrested in connection with the foiled attack on Isyaku Rabiu Mosque while three were arrested in connection with the attack on St. Charles Church.
“All the suspects are currently undergoing interrogation at different police facilities.”
Shinaba said the impact of the IEDs thrown at the church from the opposite direction killed one of the soldiers on duty and the four worshippers, comprising a toddler, two women and a man.
He disclosed that three suspects were arrested at the scene of the church blast.
The police commissioner also revealed that a 15- year- old female suicide bomber blew up herself up at a police checkpoint and injured five of her team members.
He expressed gratitude that an injured policemen had been treated and discharged from a hospital in the city.
Earlier, Shinaba told journalists that a bomb-laden vehicle strategically parked at the praying ground was found at the Isyaku Rabiu Mosque praying ground.
The Isyaku Rabiu mosque which serves as an Eid-praying ground is the second largest of such grounds in the city.
The police commissioner said, “The proactive steps initiated by the police in ensuring a hitch-free Sallah celebration paid off when a good Samaritan alerted us of the development.
“We moved into the mosque premises around 1am, dominated the environment and ferried the automobile away for controlled detonation.
“The high calibre IEDs were primed in apparent sinister plot that targeted hundreds of Muslim worshippers at the praying ground”.
He added that the controlled detonation left collateral damage on a Peugeot 406, pointing out that “the essence was to blow up as many worshippers within a range.
“We are grateful that our proactive strategy had saved life, and this would have caused collateral damage to innocent worshippers,” the Police boss added.
Shinaba urged members of the public to be extra vigilant, pointing out that the war on terror required their cooperation .
In a related development, the Kano Emirate Council has announced the suspension of traditional festivities associated with Eid celebration due to security concerns.
Briefing journalists on the development, the District Head of Dale, Alhaji Aminu Bayero, called on residents to intensify prayers for divine intervention.
In his traditional Sallah message, the Emir of Kano, Alhaji Muhammadu Sanusi II, called on Muslims to seek true knowledge to assist them in practising their religion as enshrined in the Sharia.[Punch]