At least 17 people have been killed in two suspected Boko Haram suicide bombings on a market in the northeastern Nigerian town of Biu, officials have told Al Jazeera.
Forty-seven others were wounded in Saturday’s explosions, and many were in criticial condition, said Al Jazeera’s Ahmed Idris, reporting from the capital, Abuja.
“Biu has been largely spared by the Boko Haram insurgency, but many areas surrounding that town have been attacked on several occasions,” he said.
“This is one of the cases we have been seeing over the past five or six months.”
Idris said that as of yet there had been no claim of responsibility. However, local officials believe the attacks had the “signature” of Boko Haram, he added.
“We have seen them targeting soft spots like places of worship and schools,” said Idris.
Eight years of fear
The UN estimates that 20,000 people have been killed and at least 1.7 million displaced since Boko Haram’s offensive in 2009.
Nigeria’s military has stepped up its operations against the group, but counter attacks are also on the rise in the northeast.
In early September, Amnesty International published a report that said Boko Haram was responsible for at least 400 deaths since April.
More than half of all schools in Borno are closed with millions of children unable to start classes this year because of the ongoing threat of Boko Haram, according to United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).