Sui­cide bomber, rocket grenades kill 30 in Nige­ria

The China Post - - INTERNATIONAL - BY HARUNA UMAR

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

The ex­plo­sion killed peo­ple who were pros­trat­ing them­selves for af­ter­noon prayers out­side the mosque, in­clud­ing traders from the nearby crowded mar­ket­place in the largest city in Nige­ria’s trou­bled north­east, 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 Gov. 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 Satur­day, rock­et­pro­pelled 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 20 kilo­me­ters ( 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 rock­et­pro­pelled grenades. Sol­diers fired heavy as­sault ri­fles in re­sponse, said the of­fi­cer, who in­sisted on anonymity be­cause he is not sup­posed to give in­for­ma­tion to jour­nal­ists.

Civil­ian self- de­fense 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 6-year-old Is­lamic up­ris­ing in north­east­ern 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.

On Fri­day, twin ex­plo­sions at a vil­lage wed­ding venue killed seven peo­ple.

Nige­ria’s mil­i­tary says Boko Haram’s main fight­ing force is trapped in the north­east­ern Sam­bisa For­est. But the in­sur­gents keep at­tack­ing Maiduguri, which is 200 kilo­me­ters (125 miles) away.

At his in­au­gu­ra­tion Fri­day, Nige­ria’s new Pres­i­dent Muham­madu Buhari vowed to crush the ex­trem­ists. Buhari said he will move the head­quar­ters for the war against Boko Haram from Abuja, the cap­i­tal in cen­tral Nige­ria, to Maiduguri.

AP

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