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Attack in Nigeria Kills 19 as President Visits Liberated Towns


Government officials visit injured people from Tuesday's suicide bomb explosion, in a hospital in Kano, Nigeria, Feb. 25, 2015.

Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan paid a surprise visit Thursday to the country's northeast, the epicenter of the Boko Haram insurgency.

The president met with Nigerian troops in Baga and Mubi, two towns the army recently recaptured from the insurgents. His office said he also did an aerial inspection of other recaptured areas and stopped in the Borno state capital, Maiduguri, where he met with the state governor.

Upon returning to Abuja, Jonathan told reporters he was hopeful that "the journey to end the Boko Haram insurgency has commenced very aggressively and will soon get to an end."

But violence in the northeast continued Thursday. Witnesses said a suicide bomber killed at least 19 people in the Borno state town of Biu, a site of previous attacks claimed by Boko Haram.

A second person attempted a suicide bombing in the same area but was killed before he could detonate his explosives. Some reports said the attacker was beaten to death by his would-be victims; others said he was shot by security forces.

Separately, in the central Nigerian city of Jos, many people were reported killed after twin bombings near a bus station and a university on the Bauchi road. The French news agency AFP quoted witnesses as saying 17 people died — five in the first blast, 12 in the second.

On Tuesday, a pair of suicide bombings at bus stations in the cities of Kano and Potiskum killed at least 27 people, with dozens more injured.

It was the second attack in Potiskum in recent days, after a young girl killed herself and five others in a suicide bombing at a market on Sunday.

There has been no claim of responsibility for those blasts, but all bear the marks of Boko Haram, which has made increasing use of young female suicide bombers in the past year.

Boko Haram, whose name means "Western education is forbidden," has killed thousands of Nigerians in the past five years in attacks on schools, towns, markets, churches, mosques and various government targets.

The group had seized numerous towns in northeastern Nigeria for an envisioned Islamic state but has suffered a series of defeats this month in a military campaign by Nigeria and its neighbors, Cameroon, Niger and Chad.

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