At least 30 people killed in triple suicide bombings in Nigeria’s Borno state
Over 30 people were killed in a triple suicide bombing in northeastern Nigeria, emergency services reported on Monday, in an attack bearing the hallmarks of the Boko Haram jihadist group.
Three bombers detonated their explosives late Sunday outside a hall in the town of Konduga, where soccer fans were watching a game on television. Konduga is about 22 miles southeast of Maiduguri, the capital of Borno State.
Usman Kachalla, the head of operations for the Nigerian emergency management agency, said on Monday: “The death toll from the attack has so far increased to 30. We have over 40 people injured.”
Ali Hassan, the leader of a self-defense group in Konduga, said that the attack happened at around 9 p.m. on Sunday and that the operator of the hall had prevented one of the bombers from entering the packed venue.
“There was a heated argument between the operator and the bomber who blew himself up,” Mr. Hassan said by telephone, adding that two other bombers who had mingled among the crowd at a tea stall nearby had then also detonated their vests.
“Nine people died on the spot, including the operator, and 48 were injured,” Mr. Hassan said.
Mr. Kachala of the emergency management agency said that the high number of fatalities was because responders had been unable to reach the site of the blast quickly and were ill equipped to deal with large numbers of wounded.
“Lack of an appropriate health facility to handle such a huge emergency situation and the delay in obtaining security clearance to enable us deploy from Maiduguri in good time led to the high death toll,” he said.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility, but the attack bore the imprint of Boko Haram, which has led a decade-long campaign to establish a hard-line Islamist state in northeastern Nigeria.
The last suicide attack was in April, when two bombers blew themselves up outside the garrison town of Monguno, killing a soldier and a vigilante and wounding another soldier.
Konduga has been repeatedly targeted by suicide bombers from a Boko Haram faction loyal to its longtime leader, Abubakar Shekau. The faction typically carries out suicide attacks against civilian targets such as mosques, markets and bus stations, often using young women and girls as bombers.
The jihadists are believed to sneak into Konduga from hiding places in the nearby Sambisa Forest.
The Boko Haram insurgency has so far claimed 27,000 lives and forced around two million people to flee their homes. The violence has spilled into neighboring Niger, Chad and Cameroon, prompting the formation of a regional military coalition to battle the insurgents.