The Police in Borno State have confirmed that 54 people were killed and over 95 injured in the multiple explosions that hit Maiduguri, the state capital on Sunday night.
Police Public Relations Officer Victor Isuku said the attacks bore the hallmark of suspected Boko Haram insurgents. No group has however claimed responsibility for the action.
Isuku said the suspected Boko Haram terrorists simultaneously detonated four separate Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) at a mosque and a viewing center in Ajilari T-junction of Maiduguri metropolis.
There are conflicting reports on the figures as eyewitnesses put the figure of the death toll at over 60 with more than 95 injuries.
Some hospital sources corroborated the fatality of over 60.
Acting Director, Army Public Relations, Col. Sani Usman, said: “We would like to state that the Nigerian military would not be deterred in its determined efforts of defeating Boko Haram terrorists in the shortest possible time.
“We would like to assure the public also that the terrorists have shown their ugly presence in such areas, there is need for more vigilance, security consciousness and prompt reporting of suspicious persons or group of persons in their midst. This would enable the security against take appropriate measures against them.”
“The four explosives were planted by the fleeing suspected terrorists from Sambisa Forest. They could have sneaked into these areas about a week or two to plant these bombs in this mosque and other soft targeted areas of a local market and other strategic locations,” Sani said, adding that a suspect also threw a grenade at the viewing centre from an unmarked vehicle.
An anonymous security guard attached to the viewing centre, also told The Nation that the suspected bombers sneaked into Gomari ward through the rear and south flank of Ajilari area.
“These insurgents could have crossed River Ngadabul, with the explosives, before planting some of them at our mosque that killed 18 people and this night local market. These gunmen are fleeing the forests, because of the ongoing Operation Lafiya Dole by the military,” said a member of CJTF, Tanimu Ibrahim.
He said nine of his colleagues, were also killed, while patrolling the Gomari and Ajilari areas of Maiduguri.
“Yesterday’s attacks on this mosque, viewing centre and other targets were coordinated by fleeing insurgents; and claimed the lives of many of our colleagues, who are already hospitalized at the State Specialists Hospital and Umaru Shehu Hospital, Bulunkutu,”, Tanimu said.
Ajilari cross and Bintu Sugar are located at outskirt of Maiduguri. Both settlements have witnessed series of Boko haram attacks including bombings of football viewing centre in no distant past.
Another eyewitness, a survivor in one of the attacks informed that the attacks were carried out by suicide bombers in different directions at about 7:38pm, with the fourth one which was more deafening took place at about 8pm.
He said, the first incident occurred at a local Ram Market near Ajilari Railway Crossing, while other took place at a telecommunication service point where many people gather to buy/sale GSM recharge cards and other petty businesses.
Another eyewitness disclosed that , the first blast at the Ajilari Railway crossing claimed 7 lives including members of the Civilian JTF.
Our Correspondent gathered that apart from the Ajilari Railway crossing blast, 18 people mostly worshippers were killed at a mosque where some of the insurgents driving in a golf vowkswagen Saloon threw an Improvised Explosive Devices ( IEDs) at the Mosque while Muslim faithful were in their Magrib prayers.
The 8pm blast was said to have targeted a football viewing centre while at the popular telecommunication service point, 15 people were killed including others that also lost their lives at a public gathering in Hausa (Majalisa) with 95 of those who sustained severe injuries in the four blasts.