KANO, Nigeria, Jun 2 – Thirteen people were killed on Tuesday in a suicide attack at a busy cattle market in the northeastern Nigerian city of Maiduguri, the Red Cross and civilian vigilantes battling Boko Haram said.
The blast in the Borno state capital happened at about 1:00 pm (1200 GMT) as traders were wrapping up business for the day, Shettima Bulama said in an account backed up by another local vigilante.
“We’re trying to sift human bodies from carcasses of cattle that are strewn all over the place,” he said.
The northeast spokesman of the Nigerian Red Cross, Umar Sadiq, said in a text message there were 13 dead and 24 injured who were taken to two city hospitals for treatment.
The attack came after Boko Haram militants again pounded Maiduguri with rocket-propelled grenades in the early hours of Tuesday, after hitting the city in a similar attack on Saturday.
A suicide bomber also blew himself up at a mosque on Saturday, killing 26 worshippers and injuring 28 others.
The group also released a new video — its first since February and first using the logo “Islamic State in West Africa” — disputing military claims that it had been routed.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the latest attack but it bore the hallmarks of the group and Bulama said the victims were “carefully targeted”.
“The bomber chose the most crowded part of the market and set off his bombs,” he added.
A second vigilante, who asked not to be named for his own protection, gave a similar account, amid reports that the bomber may have arrived in a four-wheeled-drive vehicle before the attack.
Nigeria’s new President Muhammadu Buhari last Friday announced that the military’s counter-insurgency command centre would be moved to Maiduguri from the capital, Abuja.
The former army general, who headed a military regime in Nigeria in the 1980s, has made defeating Boko Haram a priority as he begins a four-year term of office.
The 72-year-old, who last July escaped a suspected Boko Haram attack in the northern city of Kaduna, has described the group as “godless” and “mindless”.