More Explosions In Troubled Northern Nigerian City

Source: THEWILL. -
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Two explosions rocked the northeastern Nigerian city of Maiduguri on Friday, the latest in a string of incidents in a region plagued by attacks by a radical Islamist sect and reprisals by the military.

The Red Cross and National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) confirmed the blasts but said it was too early to assess the cause or how many casualties there might have been.

"There have been two blasts, followed by a rampage from the military and we're seeing innocent victims. Our officers are now nervous about being in the city," a NEMA spokesman said.

A radical Islamist sect behind almost daily attacks in the northeastern state of Borno said on Wednesday it would not open dialogue with the government until the military withdrew from the region.

The sect, which says it wants a wider application of sharia Islamic law across Africa's most populous nation, has claimed responsibility for the killings of police officers and attacks on churches and drinking spots in recent months.

Witnesses said an explosion on Friday killed members of a joint military task force who then carried out reprisal attacks. Local Borno elders, who include former police, asked the military to withdraw this week because they say they have done more harm than good.

The streets of Maiduguri, the capital of Borno, have been silenced this week as residents abandoned their homes to seek safety in the countryside and distant cities.