It was gathered that another bomb blast rocked the troubled Borno State capital of Maiduguri late on Tuesday morning , leaving many dead and others wounded.
Prior to the explosion at the popular Kasuwan Shanu (meat market), residents were rudely woken up at 12:45am on Monday by gunshots that boomed in parts of the city till 2pm.
No official reason was given by the military authorities for the gunshots which many of the residents feared were fired by advancing Boko Haram insurgents.
But when business and other activities were peaking in the city , a bomb went off in the meat market, sending cattle rustlers, butchers, their customers and passersby scampering to safety.
Although newsmen quoted that the state Commissioner of Police, Aderemi Opadokun, as saying that five people died in the blast, Reuters reported 50.
Opadokun said the suspect, “who was shouting “Sai Buhari,’’ danced close to an abattoir in the market, before detonating the bomb strapped to his body when people had gathered around him.
‘‘Five people, including himself, died, while eight others sustained injuries,’’ he said, adding that policemen were mobilised to the scene to evacuate the corpses and convey the injured to the hospital.
But Reuters quoted a witness as claiming that “as many as 50 people were killed.’’
It added that Lawal Kawu, a paramedic, said 31 charred bodies were taken to a teaching hospital in Maiduguri.
Abubakar Mohammed, a college student, also told the news agency that he had to run away after the blast shook their school building.
A member of the youth vigilante group, who spoke on condition of anonymity with one of our correspondents, however said that the suspect dropped a bag under a table in a stall with an excuse that he wanted to pick up something somewhere.
He added shortly after he left, the bomb he hid in the bag went off.
The spokesman for the National Emergency Management Agency, North-East, AbdulKadir Ibrahim, put the death toll at 17 while his Red Cross counterpart in Borno State, Umar Sadiq, said 13.
“Our men working to evacuate the dead corpses have revealed that no fewer than 17 persons were killed by the explosion, But I cannot give the number of those injured, “ Ibrahim said.
He explained that officials of NEMA and humanitarian agencies were “still taking the injured to Umaru Shehu General Hospital, Maiduguri.”
But Sadiq said 24 were injured.
The spokesman for the youth vigilante group, Jubrin Gunda,who shed light on the Monday night gunshots, said, “just like a few days back, the insurgents tried to invade the town via the same spot, Ajilari Cross, but they were repelled by the military.
“The insurgents who seem determined to invade Maiduguri were driven back by the battle-ready soldiers.”
He added,”As far as I am concerned, there was no casualty as the militants were successfully repelled. There was exchange of gunfire too but the insurgents quickly fled back when they saw that the military were on the alert.”
There were two bomb attacks on the city at the weekend that killed at least 30 people.
Meanwhile, the nation’s service chiefs will in a few days work out the modalties for the relocation of military’s Command Centre to Maiduguri as directed by President Muhammadu Buhari in his inaugural speech on Friday.