Newsdeck

Suicide blasts in NE Nigeria kill 31

By AFP 18 June 2018
Caption
Archive photo: Boko Haram armoured vehicles seized in northern Nigeria

Suspected Boko Haram jihadists using young girls as suicide bombers killed 31 people in an attack on a town in northeast Nigeria, a local official and a militia leader told AFP on Sunday.

by Aminu ABUBAKAR

Blasts ripped through the town of Damboa in Borno state on Saturday evening targeting people returning from celebrating the Eid al-Fitr holiday, in an attack bearing all the hallmarks of Boko Haram.

Following the suicide bombings, the jihadists fired rocket-propelled grenades into the crowds that had gathered at the scene of the attacks, driving the number of casualties higher.

“There were two suicide attacks and rocket-propelled grenade explosions in Damboa last night which killed 31 people and left several others injured,” said local militia leader Babakura Kolo.

The suicide bombers detonated their explosives in Shuwari and nearby Abachari neighbourhoods in the town around 10:45 pm (2145GMT), killing six residents, said Kolo, speaking from the state capital Maiduguri, which is 88 kilometres (55 miles) from the town.

“No one needs to be told this is the work of Boko Haram,” Kolo said.

A local government official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, confirmed the death toll.

“Most of the casualties were from the rocket projectiles fired from outside the town” after the bombings, he said.

“It was later realised the suicide attacks were carried out by six underage girls whose decapitated heads were found at the scene by rescue teams. They were between seven and 10 years, from their looks,” said the official.

The gruesome attack is the latest example of Boko Haram’s continued threat to Nigeria and the Lake Chad region, said Ryan Cummings, Africa analyst at the Signal Risk consultancy in South Africa.

“Boko Haram still maintains both the intent and operational capacity to launch mass casualty attacks in parts of northeastern Nigeria,” Cummings said, despite the government’s repeated claims that the group is on the back foot.

The use of the rockets is “particularly conspicuous,” Cummings said, as it “indicates that the sect continues to have access to military-grade weaponry.”

“The Boko Haram insurgency is not showing any immediate signs of easing,” said Cummings.

– Suicide bombings – The jihadist group has regularly deployed suicide bombers — many of them young girls — in mosques, markets and camps housing people displaced by the nine-year insurgency.

On May 1 at least 86 people were killed in twin suicide blasts targeting a mosque and a nearby market in the town of Mubi in neighbouring Adamawa state.

The attacks have devastated Nigeria’s northeast, one of the country’s poorest regions where illiteracy and unemployment are rampant.

Seeking purpose and money, disillusioned and jobless young men have turned to the radical Islam of Boko Haram, which decries Western colonialism and the modern Nigerian state.

In their quest to carve out a caliphate, the jihadists have razed towns to the ground, kidnapped women and children and slaughtered thousands of others, putting many more on the brink of starvation.

Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari came into power in 2015 vowing to stamp out Boko Haram, but the jihadists continue to stage frequent attacks, targeting both civilians and security forces.

The militants stormed the Government Girls Technical College in Dapchi on February 19, seizing over 100 schoolgirls in a carbon copy of the abduction in Chibok in 2014 that caused global outrage.

The deadly violence has put Buhari under pressure as elections approach in February next year.

Along with Boko Haram, Buhari faces the continued threat of militants in the oil-rich south, separatists in the southeast and an upsurge in communal violence in the country’s central region.  DM

Gallery

Watch Pauli van Wyk’s Cat Play The Piano Here!

No, not really. But now that we have your attention, we wanted to tell you a little bit about what happened at SARS.

Tom Moyane and his cronies bequeathed South Africa with a R48-billion tax shortfall, as of February 2018. It's the only thing that grew under Moyane's tenure... the year before, the hole had been R30.7-billion. And to fund those shortfalls, you know who has to cough up? You - the South African taxpayer.

It was the sterling work of a team of investigative journalists, Scorpio’s Pauli van Wyk and Marianne Thamm along with our great friends at amaBhungane, that caused the SARS capturers to be finally flushed out of the system. Moyane, Makwakwa… the lot of them... gone.

But our job is not yet done. We need more readers to become Maverick Insiders, the friends who will help ensure that many more investigations will come. Contributions go directly towards growing our editorial team and ensuring that Daily Maverick and Scorpio have a sustainable future. We can’t rely on advertising and don't want to restrict access to only those who can afford a paywall subscription. Membership is about more than just contributing financially – it is about how we Defend Truth, together.

So, if you feel so inclined, and would like a way to support the cause, please join our community of Maverick Insiders.... you could view it as the opposite of a sin tax. And if you are already Maverick Insider, tell your mother, call a friend, whisper to your loved one, shout at your boss, write to a stranger, announce it on your social network. The battle for the future of South Africa is on, and you can be part of it.


Comments

Please note you must be a Maverick Insider to comment. Sign up here or if you are already an Insider.

Analysis

Spectre of Zuma looms large over Jiba and Mrwebi’s conduct at NPA

By Pierre De Vos

Adidas will cancel any player's sponsorship deal if it turns out they have anything to do with Scientology.