At least six people were killed in Nigeria on Thursday morning when suspected members of the Boko Haram rebel group attacked offices of ThisDay Newspapers.
In the capital city of Abuja, a suicide bomber rammed his Toyota Sienna into the newspaper's headquarters, destroying most of the building and starting a fire, according to AllAfrica. Crowds of people rushed to the scene to help remove debris and look for survivors.
Fortunately the newsroom is a bit far from the back of the building, so all the people in the newsroom ... are all safe, Olusegun Adeniyi, the chairman of ThisDay's editorial board, told reporters.
At almost the exact same time as the Abuja attack, police stopped a second bomber that was headed for the ThisDay office in Kaduna, who jumped out of his vehicle and attacked the officers.
He was immediately challenged by two gallant Nigerians, following which he threw the bomb at them and it detonated, killing them instantly, the state security service said in a statement.
The man was identified as Umaru Mustapha, who, according to Reuters, is a native of the city of Maiduguri in Borno state. The radical Islamic insurgency known as Boko Haram was founded in Borno.
Thursday's attacks were the first against the media in Nigeria, and Boko Haram could be making good on past threats to target newspapers that published stories against their group.
The President urged media practitioners not to be dissuaded from carrying out their fearless campaign for peace, justice and equity, as democracy cannot flourish without press freedom, President Goodluck Jonathan's media adviser said on Thursday, adding that the president called the attacks misguided, horrendous and wicked.
Although no group has claimed responsibility, the suicide attacks were similar to ones carried out by Boko Haram in the past, including the one that hit a United Nations office in Abuja in August.
Boko Haram, whose name translates roughly to Western education is a sin, is an Islamic insurgency movement that has unleashed a wave of terror on Nigeria in an attempt to turn the country into a sharia state.
Boko Haram has been active primarily in the predominantly Muslim northern states since 2009, and attacks are now weekly, if not more frequent. More than 1,000 people have been killed during Boko Haram's quest to turn Nigeria into a hard-line Muslim nation, and as a testament to the group's increasing strength, about half of those deaths occurred in 2011 alone and another quarter in the first three months of 2012.