Twin explosions caused by female suicide bombers have killed nine people and injured 24 in the city of Maiduguri in north-eastern Nigeria, officials and witnesses said.
The first explosion came when two of the bombers, thought to be with Boko Haram, tried to enter a camp holding more than 16,000 refugees from the terror group’s Islamist uprising.
The incident happened at about 7am local time, according to civilian self-defence fighter Dan Batta.
The military said there was only one attacker.
“A suspected female suicide bomber ran into a group of men and women at the entrance while they were coming out of the camp, killing five men and injuring 11 women,” said a statement from military spokesman Colonel Mustapha Anka.
Inuwe Sula, who lives nearby, said he saw six bodies and several wounded survivors “drenched with blood”.
The second blast came half an hour later and about a kilometre away when a tricycle taxi carrying two passengers exploded outside a petrol station, Anka said.
The bomber was driving the taxi and following a fuel tanker “with the sole aim of gaining entry to cause maximum damage and casualty”. In both attacks, the bombers were prevented from entering. Had they got in they could have caused many more casualties, Anka said.
Nine bodies, including those of two suicide bombers, were recovered, with 24 people who were wounded in the explosions evacuated to nearby hospitals, according to Sani Datta, spokesman for the National Emergency Management Agency.
Boko Haram has stepped up attacks after a months-long lull caused by a leadership struggle within the organisation, which is affiliated with the Islamic State group.
Nigeria’s home-grown insurgency has killed more than 20,000 people, spread across borders and forced some 2.6 million people from their homes.
The United Nations peacekeeping mission in the Central African Republic has also revealed that 25 people were killed in clashes between armed groups amid “rising tension” in parts of the country.
A statement late on Friday said 15 fighters were killed the previous day in the communities of Mbriki and Belima, on the outskirts of Bambari, in Ouaka prefecture in the south of the country.
And on Friday, six police and four civilians were killed in an ambush on a main road.
The UN statement added that on Friday afternoon, eight peacekeeping officials were attacked, and a seven-year-old child was injured.