Car Bombing in Maiduguri, NigeriaJanuary 14, 2014 in Nigeria
A car bomb has exploded in the north eastern Nigerian city of Maiduguri, with fears that the latest attack to target the region has left many casualties.
At least seventeen people were killed on Tuesday when an explosion targeted a busy market on the public holiday that marks the birth of the Prophet Mohammed. Police officials have indicated that the explosion occurred at about 1:30 PM (1230 GMT) around the post office area of Maiduguri, which has been hit previously by Boko Haram militants. According to Lawan Tanko, police chief for Borno state, “from our preliminary reports, we have 17 dead and at least five injured from the blast in the post office area,” however he warned that the toll could rise as casualties were taken from the bustling market to medical centres for treatment, adding that “these figures are likely to change by the time we get full reports from our men in the field.
Initial reports at the scene suggest that the blast was caused by either a car bomb or suicide bomber, however there has not yet been any confirmations from the authorities. Police Chief Tanko has noted that “the bomb was detonated in the midst of a large crowd of traders while a truck carrying firewood was passing by.” A witness to the bombing stated that “an explosive device concealed in a sack was abandoned near a butcher’s stall by unknown persons around Kasuwar Jagwal.”
The explosion caused panic in the city, where residents were in the midst of celebrating Eid Milad un Nabi. While the market has since been closed, with police officers carrying out investigations, the rest of the city remains on high alert as possible attacks and suicide bombings may be carried out in the coming days.
Over the past several weeks, Maiduguri has witnessed a number of attacks. On 2 December 2013, the northern spiritual home city of Boko Haram was raided by Boko Haram insurgents who burnt aircraft, seized weapons and razed buildings at military bases throughout the city. On Sunday, suspected Boko Haram gunmen killed five at a village market located 22 kilometres from Maiduguri. During the attack, the militants burnt cars, shops and tents storing grain.