Two female suicide bombers were behind the twin attacks which rocked Borno State capital, Maiduguri, on Saturday, killing at least nine people and injuring 24 others.
One explosion happened outside a gas station, while the other was near the Bakassi camp for internally displaced persons (IDP), underscoring the continued threat from Boko Haram jihadists who are suspected of being behind the attacks.
The first attack by a female suicide bomber occurred at 6 a.m in front of a camp for the internally displaced persons in the Bakassi area as scores of people were coming out of the camp to begin a new day. Five persons died at the scene.
Minutes later a second bomb went off near the NNPC mega station.
The attack was carried out by another female bomber, who was inside a tricycle, popularly called KEKE NAPEP.
Army spokesman Colonel Sani Usman said that the bomber was tailing a fuel tanker that was about to discharge fuel at the station.
He said, “Miraculously, a car came in between them. The bomber, whether by error or whatever detonated, killing all the three occupants of the tricycle.There was no other person involved.”
Usman said the General Officer Commanding 7 Division, Brigadier-General Victor Ezugwu has gone to the scenes of the attacks.
Usman confirmed that bodies of the dead have been carried away by government emergency services. The Police, he said, would issue a statement on the two incidents.
The bombings came 17 days after a car bomb that killed 10 people when a convoy was hit in the outskirt of the city.
The explosion at Muna garage hit the convoy with a military escort as it made its way to Gamboru Ngala.
Since Boko Haram lost the swathe of territory it occupied during the Jonathan era, its suicide squad has been hitting soft targets.
Boko Haram has devastated northeast Nigeria in its quest to create an Islamist state, killing over 20,000 people and displacing 2.6 million from their homes.
Since taking up arms against the Nigerian government in 2009, Boko Haram has disrupted trade routes and farms.
Now nearly 50,000 children are facing death by starvation if they don’t get food and almost 250,000 more are severely malnourished in Borno state, according to UNICEF.
“Nigeria is facing the worst humanitarian crisis on the African continent,” Peter Lundberg, acting United Nations Deputy Humanitarian Coordinator, warned last week.
Deadly attacks despite Buhari’s offensive
Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has led a successful offensive against the insurgents since coming into office last year, but Boko Haram is still capable of carrying out deadly attacks.
In October, Boko Haram attacked a town near Chibok, where in 2014 it kidnapped over 200 schoolgirls, drawing global attention to the insurgency.
Later this month, the jihadists claimed that they killed 20 soldiers in “fierce clashes” in the Ghashghar area of northeastern Nigeria.
The violence is spilling into neighbouring Niger, Chad and Cameroon, with Niger early in October declaring two days of national mourning after 22 soldiers were killed in an attack blamed on the jihadists against a camp sheltering almost 4,000 refugees.