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At Least 37 Killed in Maiduguri Blasts


Maiduguri, Nigeria
Maiduguri, Nigeria

Nearly 40 people are dead after two female suicide bombers attacked a crowded market Tuesday in the northeast Nigerian city of Maiduguri.

Witnesses say the first bomber set off her explosives, killing at least three people, and as people gathered at the blast site, the second bomb exploded.

Police in Maiduguri have not released a statement on the incident yet.

Abdulkareem Haruna, a VOA reporter based in Maiduguri says 37 people were killed with many others wounded. Agence France Presse puts the death toll at more than 45.

Hospital officials told VOA that they have admitted 54 victims from the scene of the blasts. Dr. Salisu Kwaya Bura, a local health official, has said 14 critically injured victims were sent to University of Maiduguri Hospital for treatment, while 20 have been discharged.

Governor Kashim Shettima has called the bombers "wicked, barbaric, and heartless" and questioned why they chose "poor traders and children" as targets.

While there was no immediate claim of responsibility, Boko Haram militants group have been blamed for scores of deadly bombings and other attacks during the past five years. The group, which has taken over territory in neighboring Borno and Adamawa states for what it calls a caliphate to be ruled under Islamic law, has made increasing use of female suicide bombers.

The group is strongly suspected in two other brutal attacks in the past week that killed nearly 100 people.

The market was also the scene of a car bombing that killed 56 people July 2.

Last week, Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan asked lawmakers to extend a state of emergency in Borno, Adamawa and Yobe states.

Some information for this report comes from AP, AFP and Reuters.