A fatal bomb blast hit an overcrowded market in the largest Southern Borno town, Biu, had killed many, witnesses report.
According to the Channels Television, a member of the Biu Youth Volunteer popularly called “Civilian JTF” involved in the rescue efforts, who pleaded anonymity, said a suspected member of the Boko Haram sect entered the vegetable section of the Market and detonated an Improvised Explosive Devices (IED), killing 15 people at the market.
People who received varying degrees of injuries are currently receiving medical attention at the Biu General Hospital.
A doctor at the Biu General Hospital, who pleaded anonymity, said that 7 dead bodies were brought from the scene, while 8 others passed away shortly after being brought to the hospital.
He also said 21 others with severe injuries are currently being prepared for referral to other major hospitals within and outside the state.
According to the Agence France-Presse (AFP), the attacker was a female suicide bomber.
Today is market day in Biu, about 185km away from Maiduguri, the Borno state capital. It is the first major attack on the town in a long time.
A local resident, Babagani Ali, said: “There has been a suicide attack by a female suicide bomber in the market this afternoon.”
The female suicide bomber shouted “God is great” before detonating herself, a Borno resident, Mallam Yuguda Biu, said.
While another local resident reports that there were two women, who later were arrested:
The incident caused confusion at the full market as almost everybody scurried for safety on hearing a freighting bang, witnesses reported.
A seller, Nuhu Usman who became an eyewitness said: “I was very much close to the van that ferried the explosive but I cannot say the whole thing was a suicide mission. The vehicle came with some goods and passengers, including a woman but suddenly exploded.”
“There was carnage at the scene because most of the victims could not be recognised when we return to offfer help,” he said.
The Youth Volunteer said youths in Biu Town angrily protested the suicide bomb attack, alleging it was orchestrated by the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), who had organised a political rally in the town earlier.
He, however, noted that the protest has been suspended due to security reasons.
According to another source, the incident happened when ex-Governor Ali Modu Sheriff was allegedly on his way to Biu.
The insurgents had descended on the town on January 14 but were effectively repelled by the military, which recovered two anti-aircraft guns and captured a number of the terrorists.
Boko Haram militants had largely been kept out of Biu through the joint efforts of the military and youth of the town.
The terrorist group has seized towns in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa States. The latest seizure was Monguno and Baga, where numerous people, including soldiers, were killed.
It should be noted that month ago, seven Boko Haram suspects were supposedly killed on December 29th, when an explosive hidden in a Toyota pick-up van had gone off before they reached the Biu market, Borno State.