An estimated 50 people were killed in as many as three separate blasts at crowded shopping areas and a transit hub in the Nigerian northeastern city of Maiduguri on Saturday, according to a local vigilante group.
A suicide bomber detonated explosives at the popular Baga market in Maiduguri, the capital of Borno state, killing at least 36 people, said Hassan Ibrahim, a member of a community law-enforcement group. A second blast at the so-called Monday market left at least 12 people dead and two others were killed when a bomb went off at a bus terminal, Ibrahim said. At least 100 people were injured in the trio of attacks, he said.
“This is perhaps one of the worst days in the history of this insurgency as it seems the terrorist group carefully selected centers of high human traffic in Maiduguri,” said Ibrahim.
Emergency workers are assessing the casualties, Abdulkadir Ibrahim, a spokesman with the National Emergency Management Agency, said by phone. Borno state government spokesman Isa Gusau didn’t answer a call to his mobile phone seeking comment.
Maiduguri has been a target of deadly suicide bombings and grenade attacks in a region under threat by Boko Haram, an Islamist militant group that has declared a caliphate in northeastern Nigeria. Boko Haram killed more than 4,700 people last year, double the amount in 2013, risk consultancy Verisk Maplecroft estimates.
The violence in Africa’s biggest economy comes three weeks before President Goodluck Jonathan will seek re-election against his chief challenger Muhammadu Buhari, a former military ruler. The vote was delayed to March 28 from Feb. 14 over safety concerns given the insurgency by Boko Haram.