As Nigeria celebrated 55 years of independence, multiple explosions were set off in Maiduguri on Thursday evening, two of them attributed to suicide bombers. Boko Haram is suspected to be behind the blasts.
The first bomb was detonated by a teenage girl wearing a suicide vest. She set it off near a mosque in Ajilari Cross, which is located in proximity to the city’s major airport and a military base. Reports indicate that the detonation was delayed and so only killed the girl and did not affect any of the worshippers. This same area had been targeted by insurgents roughly 10 days prior.
Another teenage girl targeted another gathering in the city, but her bomb completely failed to detonate. Police shot her in the leg as she attempted to flee the scene, and she was apprehended.
Residents began to evacuate their homes at the sound of the first blast.
One senior law enforcement official estimated that there were seven explosions in all during the attack. He stated that further details were pending investigation.
This is not the first time that Maiduguri has been attacked by Boko Haram. Suicide bombers were again used on Sept. 20, and at least 117 people were reported dead from that series of strikes.
Maiduguri is under a nighttime curfew, so no confirmed numbers for casualties and injuries are available at this time.
In August, military leaders were given a three-month deadline to end the insurgencies. As of this date, 315 Boko Haram fighters have surrendered into their custody.
Muhammadu Buhari, Nigeria’s president, has stated that he is hopeful that the “conventional” fighting will be put to an end by November but that guerilla-style attacks on civilians may continue far beyond that.
According to statistics from Amnesty International, 1,600 people have been killed since June in Nigeria, Chad, Cameroon, and Niger. The total number killed for the year up until this date is 3,500. Roughly 2.5 million people have been left homeless, primarily in Nigeria, since the conflict began in 2009.
Tony Lanzer, the United Nations’s regional humanitarian coordinator for the Sahel region, has dubbed the effects of the Boko Haram assaults as “the fastest-growing crisis in Africa.”
Maiduguri is located in northeast Nigeria and is the state capital of Borno.
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