Blast in Maiduguri kills two cops

2016-05-12 23:07
Police stand guard a burnt out truck following an attacked by Boko haram Islamists near an Air force base in Maiduguri, Nigeria. (Abdulkareem Haruna, AP)

Police stand guard a burnt out truck following an attacked by Boko haram Islamists near an Air force base in Maiduguri, Nigeria. (Abdulkareem Haruna, AP)

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Maiduguri - Two police officers were killed when a suicide bomber tried to attack government offices in the northeast Nigerian city of Maiduguri on Thursday, the military said.

Army spokesperson Sani Usman said the attacker blew up as security personnel stopped him from trying to get into the Borno State Secretariat to attack staff.

"Unfortunately in the process of stopping him, he detonated the improvised explosive device on his body, instantly killing himself, a policeman and critically injuring another policeman...

"Sadly, the injured policeman died later," Usman said in an emailed statement, adding that 18 people were injured and taken for treatment.

Mohammed Kanar, regional co-ordinator for the National Emergency Management Agency, an accident and emergency spokesperson for the Borno State Specialist Hospital, also confirmed the two deaths.

But they said between 19 and 24 people were injured in the blast, which happened at about 12:00 (11:00 GMT).

Locals and street vendors earlier told AFP the explosion initially appeared to come from a passing motorised rickshaw, which went up in flames and was gutted in the blast.

Boko Haram suicide bombers have previously used public transport to travel to multiple targets in the northeast and wider north.

The 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 there in recent months as a military counter-insurgency makes apparent gains against rebel strongholds across the northeast.

20 000 lives

Nigeria's President Muhammadu Buhari is this weekend hosting leaders of neighbouring countries, plus French President Francois Hollande, at a security summit in Abuja.

The meeting is expected to focus on boosting regional and international co-operation in defeating the Islamic State group affiliate, which has also attacked Cameroon, Chad and Niger.

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.

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.

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 spokesperson Usman said in a statement.

Read more on:    boko haram  |  nigeria  |  west africa

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