35 confirmed killed as bomb explosions rock Maiduguri •20 feared killed in Adamawa air raid

Posted by News Express | 2 March 2014 | 4,739 times

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Two explosive-laden vehicles went off last night in Maiduguri, capital of Borno State, claiming at least 35 lives.

Yesterday’s explosions occurred at the heavily populated Ngomari-Bulumkutu in Maiduguri.

Time was about 6:30 when a lot of residents were preparing for prayers.

Eyewitnesses said that the bombs were neatly packaged inside a fire wood truck, believed to have taken off from the Sambisa Forest in Damboa Local Government Area.

One of the eyewitnesses, Malam Mohammed Buba, said: “Nobody can say exactly how it happened, the first blast occurred just about 15 minutes before the second one. Only few people were injured by the first blast, but while people were trying to rescue the victims of the first blast, the second one occurred killing many people.”

The State Commissioner of Police, Alhaji Lawal Tanko, confirmed the blasts, saying that 35 bodies had been evacuated so far.

“We are still counting, so far we have counted 35 bodies. Our men are still working with rescue workers at the scene.”

As soon as the explosives went off, people started fleeing the area.

Eye witnesses said some of the victims had gathered to buy fried bean cake (akara) and fried fish for dinner. Many of them had already been rendered homeless by the Boko Haram insurgency.

Youth volunteers, known as civilian JTF, rushed to the scene to assist security agents in combing the area for the brains behind explosions and to pick up corpses of the victims.

Defence spokesman, Major-General Chris Olukolade, said by phone that he was aware of the situation but had no details yet.

He confirmed that one of the suspects who detonated the bomb had been arrested and that efforts were on to identify and arrest the rest.

Meanwhile, in neighbouring Adamawa State air strikes by men of the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) against suspected bases of insurgents at Daglun, a border village of Askira Uba, claimed 20 civilians.

NAF had yesterday intensified its offensive in the area to dislodge members of the Boko Haram sect, who have killed dozens of people in Adamawa villages in the last one week.

Residents and hospital sources disclosed that, besides the victims, 25 others were wounded during the raid.

The incident came less than 24 hours after Governor Murtala Nyako was forced to cancel his tour of villages attacked by insurgents last week.

A resident of the village claimed that at least 20 villagers were killed and 25 others, mostly the aged, wounded when NAF personnel struck.

At the Mubi General Hospital, a senior medical worker told our reporter that the injured were brought to the hospital for treatment.

“I cannot officially give you details of the casualty or those that were injured because I am not permitted to talk to the press; I can only tell you that many lives were lost and some were rushed to hospital for treatment,” he said.

Prior to the air strikes, most residents had fled the area in anticipation of a full-scale military offensive on the border towns and villages.

A community leader in the area who didn’t want to be named confirmed the incident. He said that the air strikes occurred while the villagers were going about their normal businesses. “We counted 20 dead bodies while those injured were rushed to hospital. The people that remained in the village are mostly women and aged people because the younger ones have since fled for fear of being attacked by Boko Haram insurgents. Many of the wounded have been rushed to Mubi General Hospital,” he stated.

A survivor of the attack who simply identified himself as Baba said there were no Boko Haram members in the area, describing the NAF attack as unwarranted.

When contacted, the spokesman of the 23rd Armoured Brigade, Yola, Captain Jafaru Nuhu, said he was not aware of the incident, but a security official who did not want his name in print said some “terrorists” were killed in previous air strikes, adding that the latest air strikes took place in the remote Sambisa forest where insurgents camped.

Story pieced together from reports in The Nation and Sunday Leadership. Photo shows scene of one of the Maiduguri blasts.

Source: News Express

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