Nigeria president holds emergency talks

2011-12-29 20:41

Abuja - President Goodluck Jonathan summoned his security chiefs for an emergency meeting on Thursday, the police chief said, to discuss a growing Islamist militant threat after Christmas Day bombs on churches and other targets.

The attacks - the deadliest was on a church just outside the capital which killed 27 people - have raised fears the militants are trying to ignite sectarian strife.

"The president is concerned about the security challenges in the country, so he summoned each and every one of us, the service chiefs, in order to review the situation..." Inspector General of Police Hafiz Ringim said after the meeting.

"Terrorism is not an easy matter at all... It is a very new phenomenon here. We... are all scrambling to find our feet and face it squarely".

Jonathan's administration has been criticised for failing to tackle the problem of Boko Haram, a violent Islamist sect blamed for multiple bombings and shootings in the north and the capital, Abuja.

Opposition leader Muhammadu Buhari said in a statement in local newspapers on Thursday that Nigeria was "now a fractured society... violence everywhere".

A series of security crackdowns in Nigeria's remote northeast seem to have done little but inflame tensions.

Ringim suggested security operations in the northeast had led to several arrests and helped dislodge some militants from their hideouts.

On Tuesday night, unknown attackers threw a home made bomb into an Islamic school in Nigeria's southern Delta state, in an apparent sectarian reprisal that wounded seven people, six of them young children.

On Wednesday night, an explosion in a local bar in the northern city of Gombe wounded one person, police said.