Boko Haram kills 80 in suicide bombings
Boko Haram Islamic extremists struck a city and a town in northeastern Nigeria with rocket-propelled grenades and multiple suicide bombers yesterday, killing at least 80 people, witnesses said.
In Maiduguri, the capital of Borno state, at least 30 were killed and more than 90 wounded in overnight blasts and shoot-outs, and another 20 died in a bombing outside a mosque at dawn yesterday, said Muhammed Kanar, area coordinator of the National Emergency Management Agency.
A twin suicide bombing also killed at least 30 people in Madagali, a town 150km southeast of Maiduguri, witnesses said.
Two women blew themselves up at a market near a busy bus station at about 9am - Brig Gen Victor Ezugwu, the officer commanding in northeast Adamawa State, confirmed the attack but said casualties have yet to be established.
The attacks appear to be a challenge to President Muhammadu Buhari's declaration last week that Nigerian security forces have "technically won the war" against Boko Haram and that it is now capable of no more than suicide bombings on soft targets.
Maiduguri, with a population of about a million people, now hosts almost as many refugees - among the 2.5 million people driven from their homes in the six-year-old Islamic uprising. About 20,000 people have been killed in Nigeria and hundreds of others elsewhere as the insurgents have carried their conflict across its borders into Cameroon, Niger and Chad.
The military said there had been multiple attacks at four southwestern entry points to Maiduguri.
In another blast, two girls blew themselves up in the Buraburin neighbourhood, killing several people, according to civil servant Yunusa Abdullahi.
"We are under siege," Abdullahi said.
"We don't know how many of these bombs or these female suicide bombers were sneaked into Maiduguri last night."
He said some residents have found undetonated bombs.
Maiduguri is the birthplace of Boko Haram, which emerged as a much more radical entity after Nigerian security forces launched an all-out assault on their compound in the city, killing 700 people in 2009.