Bomb Blast Hit Maiduguri Town




Maiduguri (Nigeria) (AFP) - A series of explosions rocked the city of Maiduguri in northeast Nigeria on Thursday, with casualties feared, witnesses and police said.


It was not immediately clear how many blasts hit the Borno state capital but one police officer said as many as seven went off and locals reported at least two bombs were strapped to teenage girls.

Boko Haram Islamists have increasingly used suicide bombers to target civilians, including in Maiduguri, where on September 20 at least 117 people were killed in a wave of attacks.

"The first bomb was strapped to the body of a teenage girl, who wanted to kill worshippers at Ajilari Cross," said Bashir Ali, a driver in the area.

Ajilari Cross, near Maiduguri airport, where there is also a military base, was one of several places in the city hit 10 days ago.

Ali said the girl's target appeared to have been a mosque, just as worshippers were preparing for evening prayers at about 7:30 pm (1830 GMT).

"Tragedy was averted because there was a little delay as the prayers did not commence in earnest and the bomb strapped to the body of the girl went off and killed her," he added.

"It did not affect any other person."

Maiduguri has been on edge since the last round of bombings, with locals fearing further bloodshed. The sound of the first explosion saw many flee their homes.

Bakura Ajiya, a butcher, said there were three blasts as people left the area, killing a number of people. He did not specify how many.

He added that there was another teenage girl carrying explosives who targeted a separate gathering in Ajilari but her bomb failed to go off.

"When she attempted to flee, the police shot her in the leg," he said.

A senior police officer, speaking on condition of anonymity, confirmed: "In all, there were about seven explosions but we are trying to get the details.

"I cannot tell you the casualty figures for now."

Exact details of the blasts and casualties are unlikely to emerge until Friday, as Maiduguri is subject to a nighttime curfew.

( AFP )
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