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Blasts rock Maiduguri, many feared dead

02 March 2014, 07:34

Maiduguri — Two bombs exploded at a crowded marketplace in Maiduguri on Saturday night, and many are feared killed and wounded, witnesses said.

Bloodied people screaming for help were running out of buildings billowing with smoke, they said. Trader Mallam Samalia said some people were blown apart.

The second blast caught people trying to help those injured in the first explosion in the Bintu-Suga neighborhood of Ngomari suburb, he said.

It appeared to be a car bomb, from a pickup truck loaded with wood, Samalia told The Associated Press by telephone.

"I'm seeing people carrying bloody bodies," he said. "There are parts of bodies littering the street."

Mechanic Yahaya Adamu said he was on his way home when he heard the blasts, two minutes apart. "There's black smoke everywhere now. I'm running home to see if my family is safe."

The police commissioner didn't immediately answer his phone to confirm the reports.

It was the first attack in months in Maiduguri, capital of Borno state and the headquarters of a military force tasked with suppressing the Boko Haram uprising.

More than 300 people were killed in February alone in attacks increasing in frequency and deadliness, all in Yobe and Adamawa.

There is growing anger at the military's apparent inability to halt the attacks, with soldiers reportedly abandoning checkpoints in two recent attacks that killed nearly 100 people, including 59 students, because they are outnumbered and outgunned.

That anger will be fueled by reports that a military fighter jet targeting extremist hideouts bombed a village in Yobe state and killed at least 20 civilians on Friday, according to survivors.

They said the airstrike hit Daglun, a village near the border with Cameroon and killed mainly elderly people because most residents had fled recent violence and rumors that the military is about to mount more attacks.

Military spokesman Capt. Jafaru Nuru of the 23rd Armored Brigade operating in Yobe state said he was unaware that any airstrike had killed civilians.

An elderly resident of Daglun said he was sitting under a tree when he saw bombs dropping from a military aircraft. A nurse at the local hospital said it received many dead and wounded. A community leader said 20 people died and 25 were wounded.

All requested anonymity citing fear of military reprisals.

Jets have been bombing the area for weeks.

- AP


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