Suicide bomber kills 8, injures 24 in Maiduguri

By The Citizen

At least eight people were killed in a bomb explosion outside government offices in the northeast Nigerian city of Maiduguri on Thursday, eyewitnesses have said.

According to a security personnel at the gate of the secretariat, who did not want his name mentioned, the incident occurred at about 12pm.

He said the suicide bomber pretended to be one of the workers of the Borno State Government who was there as part of those carrying out staff verification.

He added that the suicide bomber had a file on him to show to the security officers at the gate to the Secretariat that he was a staff.

He said, 'We had to turn him back when he could not present a staff identification card.

'But to our surprise, a few metres from the security post, the suicide bomber detonated the bomb strapped on him'.

'The explosion equally caused injuries to 24 other persons who were rushed to the Borno State Hospital, Maiduguri for treatment.'

A vegetable trader outside the government offices added: 'I was attending to my customers when I heard a loud explosion and instantly I knew it was an attack.

'I took cover. Moments later I realised the explosion was from a tricycle which blew up just metres away from the gate of the secretariat.

'It went up in flames and there was nothing but charred remains of the tricycle.'

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the latest blast or indication of its cause.

However, Boko Haram has previously targeted government buildings and infrastructure in the insurgency, which has claimed at least 20,000 lives and made more than 2.6 million homeless since 2009.

It has also used suicide bombers to inflict maximum civilian casualties in attacks on 'soft' targets such as mosques, crowded market places and bus stations.

The Boko Haram Islamist group was founded in Maiduguri in 2002 and the city has been repeatedly attacked since the insurgency turned violent in 2009.

But a relative calm has returned to the city in recent months as a military counter-insurgency makes apparent gains against rebel strongholds across the northeast.

The last successful attack in Maiduguri was a double suicide bombing by two women at a mosque in Molai, on the outskirts of the city, in March in which 22 people were killed and 35 injured.

On Wednesday, the Nigerian military said troops and civilian vigilantes prevented a suicide bomb attack at a mosque in Maiduguri's Sulaimanti suburb.

Five civilians were injured during the attempt and bomb disposal specialists were called in to make safe the device the bomber was carrying, army spokesman Sani Usman said in a statement.