KANO, Nigeria (Reuters) - Nigerian security forces discovered a bomb-making factory on Saturday in Kano, a northern city that has been plagued by an Islamist insurgency, the secret service said.
Boko Haram, a group styled on the Taliban, is waging an insurgency against President Goodluck Jonathan’s government with the avowed aim of carving an Islamic state out of Nigeria, a country of more than 160 million split roughly equally between Christians and Muslims.
The group has killed hundreds in gun and bomb attacks in the past two and a half years, mostly in the predominantly Muslim north, although it has struck central Nigeria and the capital Abuja.
The director of the Kano branch of Nigeria’s State Security Services (SSS), Bassey Eteng, said the raid had uncovered 12 improvised bombs and bomb-making chemicals, more than 600 rounds of ammunition, military uniforms and eight AK-47 assault rifles.
“Most of the items recovered were going to be used to mount an attack on Sallah (Muslim holiday), according to our intelligence report,” Eteng said.
“There was no casualty of any party during the operations. An investigation to find the terrorists continues.”
A military push in the north appears to have weakened the group. However, Jonathan’s critics say he relies too much on the military to defeat Boko Haram, rather than addressing northerners’ grievances such as poverty and unemployment.
As Boko Haram comes under pressure in its northeastern heartland, its attacks have spread further afield. Suspected Islamists opened fire on Christian worshippers in the central state of Kogi on Monday, killing 19.
Reporting by Idris Jibrin; Writing by Tim Cocks; Editing by Alessandra Rizzo