Monday, June 27, 2011

Nigeria: Blasts Kill 25 in Maiduguri

Maiduguri — At least 25 people were killed while many others were gravely injured yesterday when bombs detonated at a drinking joint in Maiduguri, scene of recurrent deadly attacks by the Boko Haram sect.
The explosions happened around 5.30pm at Dala Kabomti area in the Borno State capital when hundreds of people had gathered at the popular joint where assorted beers were sold.
Witnesses said at least three separate bombs went off at the open drinking joint, scattering the tents in the
No one announced responsibility for yesterday's blasts, but the incident bore the hallmark of the Boko Haram sect, which had been launching deadly gun raids and bombings in Borno State for over a year.
Emmanuel Okon, who sells bush meat around the area, said the joint was filled to capacity because of the weekend when the bombs went off.
"It is Sunday and many people were here to while away the time," he said. "More than 1,000 people were caught unawares and I can assure you that the casualty figure will be much more than 25."
Hannatu Musa, a middle aged woman also selling beer at the open space, said she escaped by the whiskers. "I went to my house to bring more beer to my joint that was what saved me, I saw many corpses in my joint," she said.
There was pandemonium in the area when most of the people scampered for safety after the loud sound of the first blast.
"Many people died because they ran into the scenes of the blasts while searching for escape routes," a police sergeant who was mobilized to the area said.
Dozens of shops were razed down at the tavern as a result of fire ignited by the bombs.
Military and police officials confirmed the attack on condition of anonymity because they have not been authorized to speak.
"You know that the new Joint Task Force is now in charge of the operation as such only the official spokesman of the task force can talk," a police official said.
Daily Trust reports that yesterday's attack was launched few days after additional men of the Army, Navy, Air Force and the Police arrived in Maiduguri as part of measures aimed at improving the security situation.
The blasts also came just over a week after the bombing at the Police force headquarters in Abuja and three days after the Borno State police commissioner offered to hold dialogue with the Boko Haram sect, which has been targeting security personnel, community leaders, churches and beer parlours in Maiduguri.
In a related development, two gunmen riding a motorcycle yesterday attacked mourners in Gamboru Ngala, a border town between Nigeria and Cameroon, where they killed Hassan Gambala and shot another man Lawan Masta on the neck.
Witnesses said the sympathizers were mourning the death of Baba Kamfut, a former vice chairman of Gamboru Ngala local government area, who was killed by gunmen in front of his house in Ngala, penultimate Friday.
Another man, Musa Mai Hannu Daya, was also killed at Ngala yesterday.
There was no official statement from the police or the military over the latest incidents.

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