Three killed as suicide blasts rock migrant camp in Nigeria

March 22, 2017 1:01 pm
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An Islamist insurgency has killed at least 20,000 people and forced more than 2.6 million others from their homes since it began in northeast Nigeria in 2009 © AFP/File

, Kano, Nigeria, Mar 22 – At least four suicide bomb blasts rocked a camp for migrants fleeing Boko Haram insurgents in restive northeastern Nigeria Wednesday, killing at least three people and wounding 20, officials said.

The blasts triggered fires which burned down tents in the vast Muna camp on the outskirts of the city of Maiduguri, camp coordinator Tijjani Lumani told AFP.

“There were four explosions inside the camp. The bombers struck at different locations around 4:30 am.”

The emergency services put the number of bombings at five.

“A total of five suicide bombers, all male adults, were involved in the incidents, killing three persons,” Abdulkadir Ibrahim of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) in the region told AFP.

He said 20 people were wounded and taken to hospital.

Muna camp is home to tens of thousands of people who have fled the Boko Haram insurgency.

The Islamist group has continued to target the internally displaced people (IDPs) and there have been several attempted suicide bomb attacks near the Muna camp, which is not fenced off and is easily accessible.

Aid workers said last week that the camp residents are facing a severe lack of water, compounding widespread food shortages and security fears.

– Camp vulnerable’ –

“The camp is vulnerable and this worries everyone of us in the camp which is the last settlement on the outskirts of the city from the north,” said Lumani.

“We are the first settlement one reaches on entering the city. And the fact that several suicide attacks have occurred near the camp in recent months adds to our unease,” he said.

Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau, who in March has made his first appearance in months © BOKO HARAM/AFP / HO

“We are vulnerable to Boko Haram. They can strike in the camp at anytime. All the suicide bombers who attacked the Muna garage just across the road from the camp and surrounding areas came in through the city gate only hundreds of metres from the camp,” he said.

Wednesday’s blasts were the latest blamed on suicide bombers, who continue to pose a threat to civilians despite military claims of success against Boko Haram.

Four people were killed on Saturday when suicide bombers blew themselves up in a village near the city.

The Borno state capital of Maiduguri is the birthplace of Boko Haram, a radical Islamist group that has killed over 20,000 people and forced 2.6 million from their homes since taking up arms against the Nigerian government in 2009.

The violence has triggered a dire humanitarian crisis in northeast Nigeria and the wider Lake Chad region, which has also been hit by the conflict.

Nigerian troops, with the help of regional forces from Cameroon, Chad and Niger, as well as Benin, have since early 2015 managed to claw back most of the territory lost to Boko Haram in 2014.

Boko Haram’s elusive leader Abubakar Shekau made his first appearance in months earlier this month, claiming responsibility for a spate of suicide bombings.

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