At least 12 people were killed on Tuesday morning in a suspected suicide bombing that rocked a market place in the heart of Maiduguri, the provincial capital of Nigeria’s northeast Borno state.
“At about 8:10 am, a moving truck carrying charcoal exploded near the Maiduguri International Market leading to the death of 12 people, including the driver and a passenger who apparently were suicide bombers,” Adamu Jingi, a local resident, told Anadolu Agency.
He said the military has cordoned off the area, though tension is building up after angry youths mobilized and started questioning “the sincerity” of government troops.
An AA reporter at the scene said about 10 vehicles had been burnt down.
Some of the injured have already transferred to the University of Maiduguri Teaching Hospital.
Muntari Yau, another eyewitness, said the van had been parked in a mini car park close to the market.
“I counted 10 bodies,” Yau, who sells Yam at the market, told AA.
But sources at Maiduguri General Hospital, which is located just a few meters away from the market, said they had received 12 bodies.
“We now have a total 12 body recovered and deposited here,” one attendant at the mortuary section of the hospital told AA, requesting not to be named.
“They were brought here about 30 minutes after the blast,” said the attendant, adding that the medical facility is now “overstretched.”
The Nigerian army has confirmed the blast.
“A van loaded with charcoal and IEDs exploded in Maiduguri this morning,” the military’s official twitter handle announced about an hour ago. “The place has been cordoned.”
But no official statement stating the number of casualties has been given by the military so far.
Borno state government has not comment on the bombing as yet.
This is the third major attack in Maiduguri this year.
In March, about 50 people died when an explosive went off near a football viewing center in the provincial city.
Five others were killed in May in what was described as a suicide bombing.