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

Multimedia Social Media Documenting, Not Driving, Hong Kong Protests

Unlike in Arab Spring uprisings, pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong aren't relying on Twitter and Facebook to organize, but social media still plays a role More

Analysis: Occupy Central Not Exactly Hong Kong’s Tiananmen

VOA's former Hong Kong, Beijing correspondent compares and contrasts 1989 Tiananmen Square protest with what is now happening in Hong Kong More

Bambari Hospital a Lone Place of Help in Violence-Plagued CAR

Only establishment still functioning in CAR's second city is main hospital 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.
The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plainsi
X
October 01, 2014 10:45 AM
It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plains

It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests Draw New Supporters on National Holiday

On the 65th anniversary of the founding of Communist China, Hong Kong protesters are hoping to stage the largest pro-democracy demonstration since the 1989 Tiananmen protests. VOA's Brian Padden visited one of the protest sites mid-day, when the atmosphere was calm and where the supporters were enthusiastic about joining what they are calling the umbrella revolution.
Video

Video India's PM Continues First US Visit

India's prime minister is on his first visit to Washington, to strengthen political and economic ties between the world's oldest and the world biggest democracies. He came to the U.S. capital from New York, the first stop on his five-day visit to the country that denied him an entry visa in the past. From Washington, Zlatica Hoke reports Modi seemed most focused on attracting foreign investment and trade to increase job opportunities for his people.
Video

Video Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihad

Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Could US Have Done More to Stop Rise of Islamic State?

President Obama says airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria will likely continue for some time because, in his words, "there is a cancer that has grown for too long." So what if President Obama had acted sooner in Syria to arm more-moderate opponents of both the Islamic State and the Syrian government? VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid