News / Africa

Northeast Nigeria Blast Kills at Least 20

  • People gather at the scene of a car bomb explosion at the central market, Maiduguri, Nigeria, July 1, 2014.
  • People gather at the scene of a car bomb explosion at the central market, Maiduguri, Nigeria, July 1, 2014.
  • People gather at the scene of a car bomb explosion, at the central market, in Maiduguri, Nigeria, July 1, 2014.
  • People gather at the scene of a car bomb explosion at the central market, Maiduguri, Nigeria, July 1, 2014.
VOA News

The death toll following the Tuesday morning bombing of a market in northeast Nigeria has climbed to at least 20, and witnesses say it could go much higher. Also, troops announced the arrest of a businessman suspected of helping Islamist militants to carry out attacks including the kidnap of over 200 schoolgirls.

The blast at a popular market in the city of Maiduguri came from explosives hidden under charcoal in the back of a pickup truck or van.

Witnesses say the explosion was so powerful that it sent body parts onto rooftops and set several nearby vehicles on fire.

No group has claimed responsibility for the attack, but officials were quick to accuse Boko Haram.

The Islamist radical group, which originated in Maiduguri, is blamed for the deaths of thousands of people in the past five years.

Bombing near market

An attendant at Maiduguri General Hospital said earlier that eight bodies had been brought in by civilian volunteers. However, witnesses said dozens could be dead, The Associated Press reported.

"I saw police and troops picking out victims,” said Alakija Olatunde, a student who rushed to the scene.

Trader Daba Musa Yobe, who works near the popular market, said the bomb went off just after the market opened at 8 a.m., before most traders or customers had arrived.

Other witnesses said that they saw about 50 bodies, and that the explosion set fire to five cars and some tricycle taxis.

They said the toll could have been worse. But, because most people stay up late to eat during Ramadan, the Muslim month of fasting from sunrise to sunset, fewer traders and customers were around.

Maiduguri, NigeriaMaiduguri, Nigeria
x
Maiduguri, Nigeria
Maiduguri, Nigeria

A security official at the scene confirmed the blast, saying many casualties are feared. He was not identified because he's not permitted to speak to the press.

A year-old government military operation against Boko Haram has so far failed to crush the rebels, whose insurgency has killed thousands since 2009, destabilizing much of the northeast of Africa's top oil producer.

Arrest in abductions case

Earlier Tuesday, Nigeria's military said it arrested a businessman suspected of heading a Boko Haram intelligence network that helped plan the abduction of more than 200 schoolgirls in the northeast in mid-April.

The man had helped the Islamist militant group plan several attacks, including the killing of the Emir of Gwoza, a traditional ruler, the military said in a statement.

The AP identified the businessman as Babuji Ya'ari.

Defense Ministry spokesman Maj. Gen. Chris Olukolade said in a statement reported by the AP that Ya'ari belonged to a vigilante group fighting Boko Haram and used that membership as cover "while remaining an active terrorist."

Two women were also arrested as part of the investigation. One was accused of coordinating payments to other "operatives."

It was unclear if the arrest could help in rescuing the girls who remain captive.

The April abduction of 276 schoolgirls from Chibok, 219 of whom remain in captivity, has become a symbol of the powerlessness of President Goodluck Jonathan's government to protect its civilians.

Increasing violence

Violence has been relentless in northeast Nigeria in particular, with hundreds killed in the past two months.

Boko Haram has adopted a two-pronged strategy this year of bombings in urban areas and scorched-earth attacks in northeastern villages where people are gunned down and their homes burned.

Explosions last week targeted the biggest shopping mall in Abuja, Nigeria's central capital, killing 24 people; a medical college in northern Kano city, killing at least eight; and a hotel brothel in northeast Bauchi city that killed 10.

On Sunday, the Chibok community was attacked again in three places. Militants opened fire on churches and homes, killing dozens and burning houses to the ground.

On Monday, Nigeria's President Goodluck Jonathan condemned the recent attacks.

A statement from his office said: “The president assures all Nigerians once again that the federal government and national security agencies will continue to intensify ongoing efforts to end Boko Haram's senseless attacks until the terrorists are routed and totally defeated.”

Some information for this report provided by Reuters and AP.

You May Like

Turbulent Transition Imperils Tunisia’s Arab Spring Gains

Critics say new anti-terrorism laws worsen Tunisia's situation while others put faith in country’s vibrant civil organizations, women’s movement More

Burundi’s Political Crisis May Become Humanitarian One

United Nations aid agencies issue warning as deadly violence sends tens of thousands fleeing More

Yemenis Adjust to Life Under Houthi Rule

Locals want warring parties to strike deal to stop bloodletting before deciding how country is governed More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Victor Dare from: Lagos
July 01, 2014 3:15 PM
It is no more news that Boko Haram mission is to distabilize Nigeria.The greatest pain Nigerians are having today is the insincerity of our Government to protect us the citizens.The Truth has to be said,This Government can not guarantee our security.We are tired of words without actions.God Bless Nigeria!

by: Godwin from: Nigeria
July 01, 2014 12:09 PM
How painfully irritating to hear that president Jonathan sits in the comfort of his Aso Rock villa promising noises and taking no action while boko haram continues to make mince meat of people in Nigeria. Actually the aim of the attack - like one reported put it - some political elements keying into boko haram's agenda or boko haram keying into the politician's agenda - is to expose Jonathan's administration's weakness and make Nigerians fed up with president Goodluck Jonathan himself. If anything else has failed, they have succeeded, helped by Jonathan himself to expose a nature of devilish weakness wherein even a sloth would have been stirred to swifter action.

Coercion is a function of administration too. While it may not be the best of approaches all the time, a total lack of it as in the Jonathan's administration is itself a sickness, a malady. Nigerians cannot continue to be slaughtered like this everyday while all we hear is promises and more promises. Jonathan should rise up and fight Boko Haram or give way for some others willing to do so. He knows that the insurgency is planned and fueled from within his office, and he knows those doing that, yet he prefers when one idiot scapegoat - maybe someone falling out of favor with the kin-pins for one reason or another - is presented to mean the army and the security operatives are working. When an army works, the sign is there to know it.

Look at Cameroon's escapades after deploying only 1000 troops along its border with Nigeria. Why can't all the Nigeria forces deployed to the northeast do the same? Or is Cameroon also better militarily equipped than Nigeria? In a country without a good judicial system, you bet those even so arrested will be released with just a scribbling on the back of a business (complementary) card the next day "for lack of evidence". It's so appalling, to say the least. So nauseating!

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Texas Town Residents Told to 'Just Leave' Ahead of Flood Threati
X
Greg Flakus
May 29, 2015 11:24 PM
Water from heavy rain in eastern and central Texas is now swelling rivers that flow into the Gulf of Mexico, threatening towns along their banks. VOA’s Greg Flakus visited the town of Wharton, southwest of Houston, where the Colorado River is close to cresting.
Video

Video Texas Town Residents Told to 'Just Leave' Ahead of Flood Threat

Water from heavy rain in eastern and central Texas is now swelling rivers that flow into the Gulf of Mexico, threatening towns along their banks. VOA’s Greg Flakus visited the town of Wharton, southwest of Houston, where the Colorado River is close to cresting.
Video

Video New York's One World Trade Center Observatory Opens to Public

From New Jersey to Long Island, from Northern suburbs to the Atlantic Ocean, with all of New York City in-between.  That view became available to the public Friday as the One World Trade Center Observatory opened in New York -- atop the replacement for the buildings destroyed in the September 11, 2001, attacks.  VOA’s Bernard Shusman reports.
Video

Video Seoul Sponsors Korean Unification Fair

With inter-Korean relations deteriorating over the North’s nuclear program, past military provocations and human rights abuses, many Koreans still hold out hope for eventual peaceful re-unification. VOA’s Brian Padden visited a “unification fair” held this week in Seoul, where border communities promoted the benefits of increased cooperation.
Video

Video Purple Door Coffeeshop: Changing Lives One Cup at a Time

For a quarter of his life, Kevin Persons lived on the street. Today, he is working behind the counter of an espresso bar, serving coffee and working to transition off the streets and into a home. Paul Vargas reports for VOA.
Video

Video Modular Robot Getting Closer to Reality

A robot being developed at Carnegie Mellon University has evolved into a multi-legged modular mechanical snake, able to move over rugged surfaces and explore the surroundings. Scientists say such machines could someday help in search and rescue operations. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Shanghai Hosts Big Consumer Electronics Show

Electronic gadgets are a huge success in China, judging by the first Asian Consumer Electronics Show, held this week in Shanghai. Over the course of two days, more than 20,000 visitors watched, tested and played with useful and some less-useful electronic devices exhibited by about 200 manufacturers. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Forced to Return Home, Afghan Refugees Face Increased Hardship

Undocumented refugees returning to Afghanistan from Pakistan have no jobs, no support system, and no home return to, and international aid agencies say they and the government are overwhelmed and under-resourced. Ayesha Tanzeem has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Britain Makes Controversial Move to Crack Down on Extremism

Britain is moving to tighten controls on extremist rhetoric, even when it does not incite violence or hatred -- a move that some are concerned might unduly restrict basic freedoms. It is an issue many countries are grappling with as extremist groups gain power in the Middle East, fueled in part by donations and fighters from the West. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video 3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Car

Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Al-Shabab Recruitment Drive Still on In Kenya

The al-Shabab militants that have long battled for control of Somalia also have recruited thousands of young people in Kenya, leaving many families disconsolate. Mohammed Yusuf recently visited the Kenyan town of Isiolo, and met with relatives of those recruited, as well as a many who have helped with the recruiting.
Video

Video A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensions

When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.

VOA Blogs