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Several die in Nigeria terror attacks by Boko Haram

Netherlands News
23 Sep 2015, 08:47 GMT+10

ABUJA, Nigeria - More than a hundred people have been killed in the latest series of terror attacks in northern Nigeria blamed on Islamic State-linked militant group Boko Haram, officials said Tuesday.

They said that four bombings killed more than 100 people on Sunday evening near the city of Maiduguri, the capital of Borno State and the stronghold of the Islamist group.

Maiduguri is the epicenter of a protracted insurgency by Boko Haram, which announced allegiance to the Islamic State in March this year.

The officials said that the bombs were triggered within 25 minutes of what appeared to be carefully coordinated attacks by Boko Haram in an area called Gommari.

Emergency services spokesman Muhammad Kanar said that one of the bombings exploded at a mosque, other two at a railway crossing and a video center where people had gathered to watch a football match.

The fourth bomb was detonated at a market where Muslims were buying sheep and other provision for the coming Eid al-Adha holiday.

"More than 100 have died so far," said Abba Mohammed Bashir Shuwa, an aide to Governor Kashim Shettima of Borno.

Shuwa said Boko Haram insurgents had taken advantage of the Muslim holiday week, during which many residents of surrounding villages gravitate to Maiduguri to shop.

"That's what happened," he said. "They melted among the villagers and came in as traders."

The attacks, which occurred near the airport in Maiduguri, were said to be the deadliest in months since President Muhammadu Buhari came to power on May 29.

Buhari had made combating the Islamist group a key campaign pledge when he sought election this year. However, since his inauguration, at least 1,100 people have been killed, with the majority of attacks in Borno state.

Buhari asserted recently that military forces had gained the advantage against Boko Haram, recapturing territory and fracturing its leadership.

Colonel Sani Usman, the army spokesman, said in a statement that the "attacks signify high level of desperation on the part of the Boko Haram terrorists."

Nigeria's authorities have frequently downplayed the death toll from attacks in the insurgency, which has claimed at least 17,000 lives and forced more than two million from their homes since 2009.

Shuwa said that recent military gains had significantly weakened Boko Haram and that the attacks had been carried out by "remaining pockets that seek opportunities to strike."

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