At least 58 people were today killed in Maiduguri, Borno State capital, following three bomb blasts, including one by a female suicide attacker.
Many children were among the dead and at least 50 others were among the about 140 wounded in the explosions that hit two crowded markets and a busy bus station. The attack believed to have been orchestrated by Islamist sect Boko Haram is the latest in a series of renewed attacks that have hit the country’s northeast in recent times.
Although the military had claimed key victories over Boko Haram in recent weeks helped by the cooperation with forces from neighbouring Cameroon, Chad and Niger, but lately the sect has intensified attacks and the frequency of the attacks have almost overshadowed the military’s success ahead of the 2015 elections.
A woman with explosives strapped to her body blew herself up at roughly 11:20am when she got out of a motorised rickshaw at Maiduguri’s Baga fish market, according to the head of the fisherman’s union, Abubakar Gamandi, who was at the scene.
“The bomb was devastating because it occurred at a crowded area,” Vanguard quoted Jamuna Jarmi, a grocery seller to have said.
About an hour later another blast rocked the popular Monday Market, causing chaos as locals voiced anger at security forces who struggled to control the scene.
The third blast hit a used car lot which is attached to the busy Borno Express bus terminal. It was, however, not immediately clear if the last two blasts were also suicide attacks.
Gamandi, who spoke to AFP from the Maiduguri General Hospital where he was helping coordinate rescue efforts gave the toll of 47 dead and 50 wounded for the three blasts.
His figures were confirmed by a nurse at Maiduguri General and a vigilante leader in Borno, Danlami Ajaokuta, whose civilian fighters have been working with military across the northeast in fighting Boko Haram.
Ajaokuta said the security forces had ordered the closure of all businesses across the city given the apparently coordinated nature of the bombings and the fear that more could be coming.
Borno State’s Justice Commissioner Kaka Shehu confirmed all three attacks but declined to discuss casualty figures. However, he said the terrorists were angry over their loss in recent weeks. “The terrorists are angry with the way they were sacked from towns and villages and are now venting their anger,” Shehu told AFP.
Police commissioner Clement Adoda also confirmed the attack. He said 58 people were killed in the attacks and 139 were wounded.
“Normalcy has been restored,” he added, declining to give further details.