ABUJA, Jan 22 (IANS): An Indian was killed and six Indians, including two children, were injured in a string of bombings and gun battles that savaged Nigeria's second largest city Kano, leaving more than 160 people dead and many bloodied, said authorities.
Coordinated attacks - carried out by an Islamist known to have ties with Al Qaeda - targeted security forces Friday in Kano in Christian-dominated northern Nigeria, media reports and Indian officials said.
The Indian High Commission here said 23-year-old Kevalkumar Kalidas Rajput, who hailed from Gujarat and was working for Kano-based company M/s Relchem since March 2011, was killed.
He and two co-employees Hari Prasad Bhusal and Raj Singh -- both Nepali nationals -- lost their lives when their car apparently entered a scene of hostilities, the mission said in a statement.
Six Indians, including two children, belonging to two families were injured from falling shrapnel and debris. They were being treated in Kano hospitals.
With a population of 158 million and considerable revenue from oil exports, Nigeria is the largest trading partner of India in Africa. Bilateral annual trade turnover exceeds US$ 8.7 billion in 2009-10.
The Indian community in Nigeria is estimated to be 35,000-strong. Most Indians in the country are well-off and enjoy non-controversial existence.
The attacks, carried out by the Boko Haram sect Friday evening, targeted several police stations, barracks and immigration offices.
"At this moment we have 162 bodies in the morgue, and this figure may change because bodies are still being brought," The Telegraph quoted an official at Kano's main morgue.
A 24-hour curfew was declared in Kano, where search and rescue operations were underway for the killers.
Nigeria closed its borders with neighbouring Cameroon and Niger, claiming these countries allowed the militants to move freely into Nigeria, reported RIA Novosti.
Boko Haram has been seeking to impose Sharia law across Nigeria, which is divided into the predominantly Christian south and a largely Muslim north.
The group has been blamed for many terror attacks in recent months.
Hundreds of Nigerian troops have been deployed at major streets in Kano to enhance security, reported Xinhua.
Armed soldiers were deployed at some strategic public and private buildings to prevent further attacks.
Islamist spokesperson Abul Qaqa said the attacks were in response to the refusal of the Kano state government to release fellow terrorists who had been arrested.
BBC reported that hospitals were overwhelmed with the dead and injured.
President Goodluck Jonathan said that the perpetrators would "face the full wrath of the law".
"As a responsible government, we will not fold our hands and watch enemies of democracy, for that is what these mindless killers are, perpetrate unprecedented evil in our land," he said.
The police said that four police stations, the headquarters of the State Security Service (SSS), as well as passport and immigration offices had been targeted.
"I was on the roadside and I heard a 'boom'. As I came back, I saw the building of the police headquarters crashing down and I ran for my life," Kano resident Andrew Samuel was quoted as saying.
The wounded included foreigners from an area near the SSS headquarters, which is home to many expatriates, particularly Lebanese and Indians.