143 Dead in Nigeria Attacks
Islamic sect Boko Haram claims responsibility
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jan 21, 2012 10:00 AM CST
A victim of Friday's bomb blast and gun attacks is hospitalized in Kano, Nigeria Saturday.   (AP Photo/Salisu Rabiu)

(Newser) – An official at a hospital in northern Nigeria says at least 143 people have been killed in coordinated attacks in the nation's second largest city. The radical Islamic sect known as Boko Haram claimed responsibility for yesterday's violence in Kano, a city of more than 9 million people that remains an important political and religious hub in Nigeria's Muslim north.

A Boko Haram spokesman blamed the state government's refusal to release sect members held by police. Authorities said attackers targeted five police buildings, two immigration offices, and the local headquarters of the State Security Service, Nigeria's secret police. Boko Haram has carried out increasingly sophisticated and bloody attacks in its campaign to implement strict Sharia law across Nigeria.