Attacks in Nigeria leave many dead
01:19 - Source: CNN

Story highlights

NEW: Opposition party says it is "horrified" by attacks

Americans warned to avoid Abuja hotels

The Red Cross says more than 100 people have died

The pope spoke of the violence during his Angelus prayer

Lagos, Nigeria CNN  — 

Following an outbreak of violence that left more than 100 people dead, the U.S. Mission in Nigeria issued a warning to Americans on Sunday, saying more attacks may be imminent in the northeastern part of the nation.

“Following the recent Boko Haram, aka Nigerian Taliban, attacks in Borno and Yobe State, the U.S. Embassy has received information that Boko Haram may plan to attack several locations and hotels in Abuja, Nigeria, during the Sallah holiday,” the mission said. Sallah is the Nigerian name for the Eid al-Adha Muslim holiday.

The Muslim militant group Boko Haram’s stated goal is to establish a state based on Sharia, or Islamic law, in the predominantly Muslim states of northern Nigeria. Loosely translated, the group’s name means “Western education is sinful.”

According to the U.S. mission, other potential targets may include the Nicon Luxury, the Sheraton Hotel and the Transcorp Hilton Hotel. U.S. government personnel were instructed to avoid those locations, and any previously scheduled events were canceled.

“American citizens should expect additional police and military checkpoints, additional security and possible road blocks in Abuja for the foreseeable future,” the mission statement said.

Attacks have targeted police stations, mosques and churches in northeastern Nigeria, the Red Cross said. There was no official claim of responsibility from Boko Haram.

Pope Benedict XVI on Sunday called for an end to the violence during his weekly Sunday Angelus prayer.

“I am following with apprehension the tragic episodes that have taken place in Nigeria over the last days,” the pope said. “While I pray for the victims, I invite an end to the violence, which doesn’t resolve the problems but increase them, sowing hatred and divisions even amongst the faithful.”

Scores of people, potentially more than 100, were injured in a three-hour rampage in the Yobe state city of Damaturu, according to Ibrahim Bulama of the Red Cross. More than 100 people died in what he described as “a very bad scene.” Bulama initially said 63 people died, but revised the death toll upward Sunday.

Gunmen first attacked the police headquarters and the anti-terror office before moving to churches and mosques, he said. Most of the casualties were police officers.

In Potiskum, also located in Yobe state, gunmen attacked a book shop near the police station, killing two and injuring five, the Red Cross said.

Nigeria’s main opposition party, the Action Congress of Nigeria, said in a statement Sunday it was “horrified” at the attacks.

“It is now apparent that those saddled with ensuring the security of lives and property in the country are grossly incapable of doing so, hence the need to shake up the security agencies and put more capable men and women in charge,” the statement said. “The shake up must not spare any of the security chiefs. This is about taking responsibility.”

The Friday attacks came the same day that suicide bombers suspected of belonging to Boko Haram targeted a military base in nearby Maiduguri.

Three suicide bombers drove a stolen black SUV toward a Joint Task Force headquarters, but could not get through the gate, military spokesman Lt. Col. Hassan Mohammed said. The blast damaged the roofs and walls of the base.

Mohammed said two other simultaneous explosions took place at other military facilities. An unspecified number of Nigerian soldiers suffered injuries.

Saturday evening, a suicide bomber launched another attack in Maiduguri, Mohammed said. No casualties were reported except for the bomber. He also blamed Boko Haram for the attacks.

The Red Cross official said Boko Haram is suspected in the Damaturu attack as well.

CNN’s Hada Messia in Rome and Marilia Brocchetto in Atlanta contributed to this report.