Suicide bombers have killed at least 15 people and injured 21 in the northeast Nigerian city of Maiduguri, police officials confirmed.
Tuesday night’s incident is the latest in a spate of suicide bomb attacks on the city in the past few weeks. Borno, of which Maiduguri is the capital, is the Nigerian state worst affected by eight years of attacks by the Boko Haram group.
Borno state police commissioner Damian Chukwu told reporters that most of the victims were civilians manning security posts.
“The bombers detonated IEDs (improvised explosive devices) strapped to their bodies at different locations of the area, killing 19 people, including the bombers,” he said.
“A total of 23 people were injured.”
Bello Danbatta, a spokesman for the Civilian Joint Task Force (JTF) group and chief security officer at the Borno State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA), said it appeared his men were the targets.
Two of the bombers blew themselves up at checkpoints manned by JTF members, who assist the military with security and sometimes accompany soldiers on operations against Boko Haram jihadists.
“In all we lost 12 of our gallant JTF,” he said.
Waiting for burial
SEMA operatives in face-masks and white overalls were on Wednesday seen removing body parts from the scene of the attacks. Victims were covered with rugs awaiting burial as local people looked on.
At least 20,000 people have been killed and more than 2.6 million made homeless in northeast Nigeria since the start of Boko Haram’s armed campaign in 2009.
Nigeria’s government and military maintain that Boko Haram is a spent force, but intermittent attacks and suicide bombings pose a constant threat, particularly in remote areas.
Young women and girls have frequently been used to attack security checkpoints, as well as civilian “soft targets” such as mosques, markets and bus stations.
The University of Maiduguri, which lies on the edge of the city, has become a frequent target since the start of the year, as it teaches the “Western” education despised by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as ISIS) affiliate Boko Haram.
Boko Haram this week released a video showing executions and amputations, suggesting it still holds territory in some areas.