Thu. Jul 25th, 2024


Authorities say 19 more were seriously injured in blasts at wedding, hospital and funeral in country’s north-east

Agence France-Presse in Kano

Sun 30 Jun 2024 18.09 BST

At least 18 people have been killed and 19 seriously injured in suicide attacks targeting a wedding, a hospital and a funeral in north-east Nigeria, authorities have said.

In one of three blasts on Saturday in the town of Gwoza, a woman with a baby strapped to her back detonated explosives in the middle of a wedding ceremony, according to state police.

The Borno state police spokesperson Nahum Kenneth Daso said: “At about 1545 (1445 GMT) a woman carrying a baby on her back detonated an improvised explosive device she had on her at a crowded motor park.”

Female suicide bombers also targeted a hospital in the same town, which lies across the border from Cameroon. Another attack was later carried out at the funeral for victims of the wedding blast, authorities said. The region has been scarred by more than a decade of violence by the jihadist group Boko Haram, which did not immediately claim responsibility for the string of attacks.

Barkindo Saidu, the head of Borno state’s emergency management agency, said in a report seen by Agence France-Presse that “18 deaths comprising children, men, females and pregnant women” had so far been reported. Nineteen “seriously injured” people were taken to the regional capital, Maiduguri, while 23 others were awaiting evacuation, Saidu said in the report.

A member of a militia assisting the military in Gwoza said two colleagues and a soldier were also killed in a separate attack on a security post, though authorities did not immediately confirm this toll.

Although Boko Haram has lost ground in recent years, jihadists continue to attack rural communities in Nigeria on a regular basis. Over the course of the insurgency, Boko Haram has repeatedly deployed young women and girls to carry out suicide attacks.

The group seized Gwoza in 2014 when its militants took over swathes of territory in northern Borno. The town was taken back by the Nigerian military with help from Chadian forces in 2015 but the group has continued to launch attacks from mountains near the town.

Boko Haram has carried out raids, killing men and kidnapping women who venture outside the town in search of firewood and acacia fruit. The violence has killed more than 40,000 people and displaced about 2 million in north-east Nigeria.

The conflict has spread to neighbouring Niger, Cameroon and Chad, prompting the formation of a regional military coalition to fight the militants.

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