Wednesday 7 December 2016

16 killed in mosque suicide blast

Published 31/05/2015 | 00:16

People throng the streets near the site of an explosion in Maiduguri, Nigeria (AP)
People throng the streets near the site of an explosion in Maiduguri, Nigeria (AP)

A suicide bomb blast outside a mosque and rocket-propelled grenades that exploded into homes as people slept have killed at least 30 people in the Nigerian city Maiduguri, officials said.

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The explosion killed people who were at afternoon prayers outside the mosque, including traders from the nearby crowded marketplace in the largest city in Nigeria's troubled north-east, survivors said.

Trader Ali Bakomi said the bomber was pushing a wheelbarrow and pretending to be an itinerant trader when he joined them.

Borno state Governor Kashim Shettima toured the scene where one wall was reduced to rubble and another was splattered with blood. Officials told him the bomber killed himself and 16 other people.

Earlier today, rocket-propelled grenades killed at least 13 others in the city and injured more, according to resident Idrissa Mandara. Such grenades are a new tactic that has brought terror to the city that is the birthplace of Boko Haram.

Mari Madu, another resident, said he counted 40 thunderous blasts that began around 1 a.m. before he lost count.

"Each time they fired into the town, we saw bright sparkling flashes which moved with great speed ... One of the blasts shook my roof so badly that I thought it must have landed on my house," he said.

Several homes were destroyed in the suburb Dala-Lawanti, about 12 miles west of the city center, he said.

He counted 13 people killed in his compound: six men, five children and two women.

An intelligence officer said Boko Haram was firing the rocket-propelled grenades.

Civilian self-defence fighters patrolled until dawn to ensure the Islamic extremists did not get through barriers of sandbags and trenches, said one of the fighters, Abbas Gava.

The nearly six-year-old Islamic uprising in north-eastern Nigeria has killed an estimated 13,000 people. Maiduguri's population of 2 million has swelled with hundreds of thousands of refugees who have been forced from their homes.

A multinational offensive this year forced the insurgents from towns where they had declared an Islamic caliphate but suicide bombings and hit-and-run attacks continue.

Press Association

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