ABUJA, Nigeria - A suicide bomber and a man armed with explosives attacked two newspaper offices on Thursday, killing seven people and wounding at least 26.
The radical Islamic sect Boko Haram said it coordinated the attacks on Nigeria’s major daily newspaper ThisDay in the capital, Abuja, and an office building it shares with two other newspapers in the city of Kaduna. It threatened to target other journalists in the future.
In Abuja, the suicide bomber rammed his car through the gates of the ThisDay office and drove into the reception area before the explosion, said Nwakpa O. Nwakpa, a spokesman for the Nigerian Red Cross. The blast killed at least three people and wounded several others, Nwakpa said.
Soldiers and police officers quickly surrounded the building, which had part of its roof torn away and all its windows blown out by the force of the explosion. The blast focused on the end of the building with the newspaper’s printing press, while the newsroom sat far away from the blast. However, the force of the explosion overturned tables and scattered debris through the journalists’ workroom.
The attack in Kaduna also included a car loaded with explosives at an office building ThisDay shares with The Moment and The Daily Sun newspapers. However, people at the office quickly surrounded the car, witnesses said.
The driver then began shouting that there was a bomb inside the car, witness Jemilu Abdullahi said.
Those there allowed the man to open the trunk of the car and he pulled out and threw an explosive, which detonated, Abdullahi said.
At least four people died in that blast, Nwakpa said. Authorities later arrested the bomber, said Mohammed Jingiri Abubakar, Kaduna state police commissioner.
“What I can tell you is that for these dangerous elements, everybody is a target,’’ Abubakar said.
Another bomb exploded late Thursday afternoon on the outskirts of Kaduna; the casualty toll was not known, police said.
In a statement published Thursday night by the Premium Times website, a spokesman for Boko Haram said it would attack media again over what the group sees as inaccurate coverage.
The sect is blamed for killing more than 440 people this year alone in its growing fight against Nigeria’s weak central government, according to an Associated Press count.
“This is a war between us and the government of Nigeria,’’ the website quoted a sect spokesman. “Unfortunately the media have not been objective and fair in their report of the ongoing war. They chose to take side.’’