* Bombers dead, no civilians killed - police
* Kano was site of deadliest Boko Haram attack in January
* Security in northern Nigeria tightened for Christmas
By Augustine Madu
KANO, Nigeria, Dec 22 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.
The sect wants to impose strict Islamic law on a country of
160 million people split roughly equally between Christians and
The group has previously targeted churches on Christmas Day
and security has been increased in all the major northern
cities, although security experts say given the scale of
Christian worship in Nigeria they cannot protect everyone.
Kano, Nigeria's second-largest city after the southern
commercial hub Lagos, was the site of Boko Haram's deadliest
attack which killed at least 186 people in January in
coordinated bombings and shootings.
Armed police have been guarding major churches in Kano this
week and additional police checkpoints have been set up around
the majority-Muslim city, a Reuters witness said.
Police in Kano said this week that their anti-terrorism
squads have been searching houses and buildings they suspect to
be hideouts of criminals and "terrorists".
Security experts say they believe Boko Haram is seeking to
spark a religious conflict by targeting Christians in a country
where ethnic violence has flared up periodically in recent
years, in some cases killing hundreds in the space of hours.
A French national was kidnapped in far northern Nigeria,
close to the border with Niger, this week by people France's
intelligence agency said were "an organised group linked to a