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

Video Positive Messaging Helps Revamp Ethiopia's Image

In country once connected with war, poverty, famine, headlines now focus on fast-growing economy, diplomatic reputation More

Russian Activist Thinks Kremlin Ordered Nemtsov's Death

Alexei Navalny says comments of Russian liberals who think government wasn't involved are 'nonsense.' More

Video Land Disputes Rise Amid Uganda Oil Boom

Investors appear to be cashing in by selling parcels of land to multiple buyers 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.
Positive Messaging Transforms Ethiopia's Imagei
X
Marthe van der Wolf
March 03, 2015 9:03 PM
Ethiopia was once known for famine and droughts. Now, headlines more often point to its fast-growing economy and its emergence as a regional peacemaker. How has Addis Ababa changed the narrative? VOA's Marthe van der Wolf reports.
Video

Video Positive Messaging Transforms Ethiopia's Image

Ethiopia was once known for famine and droughts. Now, headlines more often point to its fast-growing economy and its emergence as a regional peacemaker. How has Addis Ababa changed the narrative? VOA's Marthe van der Wolf reports.
Video

Video Cyber War Rages Between Iran, US

A newly published report indicates Iran and the United States have increased their cyber attacks on each other, even as their top diplomats are working toward an agreement to guarantee Iran does not develop a nuclear weapon and to free Iran from international sanctions. The development is part of a growing global trend. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video Answers Elude Families of MH370 Passengers

For the families on board Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, an airline official’s statement nearly one year ago that the plane had lost contact with air traffic control at 2:40 AM is the only thing that remains confirmed. William Ide reports.
Video

Video Land Disputes Arise Amid Uganda Oil Boom

Ugandan police say there has been a sharp increase in land disputes, with 10 new cases being reported each day. The claims come amid an oil boom as investors appear to be cashing in by selling parcels of land to multiple buyers. Meanwhile, the people who have been living on the land for decades are chased away, sometimes with a heavy hand. VOA's Serginho Roosblad reports.
Video

Video In Russia, Many Doubt Opposition Leader's Killer Will Be Found

The funeral has been held in Moscow for Boris Nemtsov, the opposition leader who was assassinated late Friday just meters from the Kremlin. Nemtsov joins a growing list of outspoken critics of Russia under the leadership of President Vladimir Putin who are believed to have been murdered for their work. VOA’s Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
Video

Video Simulated Astronauts Get Taste of Mars, in Hawaii

For generations, people have dreamed of traveling to Mars to explore Earth's closest planetary neighbor. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports that while space agencies like NASA are planning manned missions to the planet, some volunteers in Hawaii are learning how humans will cope with months in isolation on a Mars base.
Video

Video Destruction of Iraq Artifacts Shocks Archaeologists

The city of Mosul was once one of the most culturally rich and religiously diverse cities in Iraq. That tradition is under attack by members of the Islamic State who have made Mosul their capital city. The Mosul Museum is the latest target of the group’s campaign of terror and destruction, and is of grave concern to archaeologists around the world. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video Smartphones May Help in Diagnosing HIV

Diagnosing infections such as HIV requires expensive clinical tests, making the procedure too costly for many poor patients or those living in remote areas. But a new technology called lab-on-a-chip may make the tests more accessible to many. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Refugees Complain of Harassment in Pakistan

Afghan officials have expressed concern over reports of a crackdown on Afghan refugees in Pakistan following the Peshawar school attack in December. Reports of mass arrests and police harassment coupled with fear of an uncertain future are making life difficult for a population that fled its homeland to escape war. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports from Islamabad.
Video

Video Ukrainian Volunteers Prepare to Defend Mariupol

Despite the ongoing ceasefire in Ukraine, soldiers in the city of Mariupol fear that pro-Russian separatists may be getting ready to attack. The separatists must take or encircle the city if they wish to gain land access to Crimea, which was annexed by Russia early last year. But Ukrainian forces, many of them volunteers, say they are determined to defend it. Patrick Wells reports from Mariupol.
Video

Video Moscow Restaurants Suffer in Bad Economy, Look for Opportunity

As low oil prices and Western sanctions force Russia's economy into recession, thousands of Moscow restaurants are expected to close their doors. Restaurant owners face rents tied to foreign currency, while rising food prices mean Russians are spending less when they dine out. One entrepreneur in Moscow has started a dinner kit delivery service for those who want to cook at home to save money but not skimp on quality. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Presidential Hopefuls Battle for Conservative Hearts and Minds

One after another, presumptive Republican presidential contenders auditioned for conservative support this week at the Conservative Political Action Conference held outside Washington. The rhetoric was tough as a large field of potential candidates tried to woo conservative support with red-meat attacks on President Barack Obama and Democrats in Congress. VOA Political Columnist Jim Malone takes a look.
Video

Video Southern US Cities Preserve Civil Rights Heritage to Boost Tourism

There has been a surge of interest in the American civil rights movement of the 1950s and '60s, thanks in part to the Hollywood motion picture "Selma." Five decades later, communities in the South are embracing the dark chapters of their past with hopes of luring tourism dollars. VOA's Chris Simkins reports.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More