Female bombers suspected to be Boko Haram infiltrated a convoy of people returning to liberated communities and detonated explosive devices at a security point on the outskirts of Maiduguri, Borno’s capital.
The explosion killed no fewer than 18 persons and injured 15.
The bomb attack, yesterday, came after weeks of failed attempts by suicide bombers to penetrate the city centre.
Witnesses said a taxi, with four female passengers, suddenly arrived a security point near Muna Garage, some 7 kilometres to the city centre at about 8.30am.
“The taxi, thereafter, joined a convoy of other vehicles waiting for military clearance before proceeding to Gamboru/Ngala and suddenly, we heard a loud sound,” Ibrahim Bunu, a trader near the area and eyewitness said.
He said eight people were killed in the bomb attack while over a dozen persons were injured. Police anti-bomb squad, CJTF, rescue workers and military personnel were seen at the scene evacuating the victims and securing the area.
Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Borno Command, Victor Isuku confirmed the incident and said the four female passengers suspected to be carriers of the IEDs were on board a Golf 1 motor vehicle with reg. No JERE 349 XA taxi colour.
“The explosion occurred when the taxi was attempting to join the convoy of other vehicles heading to Gamboru town.
“Two vehicles were involved in the blast, the first vehicle JERE 349xA, all the occupants (four women and a male driver) died.
The second vehicle which was very close had five occupants, too, but no one died.
They only sustained varying degrees of injuries. As soon as the explosion occurred, they all ran out from the vehicle,” he explained.
However, spokesman for the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), Sani Datti put the casualty figure at eight and added that 15 people were injured.
“About eight persons died and 15 injured persons were evacuated to Specialist and Teaching Hospitals, Maiduguri,” he said in a statement.
Maiduguri, hotbed of Boko Haram insurgency, has experienced relative peace since the last bomb attack mid May near the state secretariat gate.
Also, last week, two suicide bombers were intercepted by vigilant military troops and men of the Civilian JTF.
Meanwhile, President Muhammadu Buhari has condoled with Borno state government and the families of the victims of the Maiduguri bomb blast.
Buhari said, “I am disheartened by the news of the bomb blast in Maiduguri. My condolences to the families of the victims, and the Borno State Government.
“Unable to hold territory, the severely degraded terrorist group now occasionally resorts to cowardly attacks on soft targets.”
The President who commended the efforts of the military in battling the terrorist group also added that the attack further strengthened his administration’s resolve to completely rid the nation of the terror group.
“I commend our military for their unflagging efforts. This attack has further strengthened our resolve to completely neutralize Boko Haram.”