The region has been pummelled by suicide bombings that have killed hundreds carried out by the Boko Haram Islamic extremists since Nigeria elected a new president who promised to root out the extremists.
Trader Bukar Shettima said the explosion lifted him off his feet and threw him to the ground. “Thank God I was not too close,” he said. “But I saw nauseating corpses and battered bodies of humans littering the ground.”
A police bomb expert said the bomber was a man, not a woman as had been originally described by witnesses. Both were in a tricycle taxi that exploded at a taxi rank outside Gamboru wholesale vegetable market.
He said he helped collect seven bodies.
Civilian self-defence fighter Kabiru Yaro said he carried away at least ten corpses.
A suicide bombing at the same market killed at least 20 last month.
It comes a day after the defense ministry appointed Major General Iliyasu Isah Abbah to command an 8,700-strong regional army to curb the Islamic uprising that has spilled across Nigeria’s borders. It has killed some 20,000 people in six years and driven two million from their homes.
Nigeria’s military announced its first major success in weeks on Thursday.
Soldiers rescued 71 Boko Haram captives, mostly girls and women, in battles that killed many militants and destroyed their camps in three villages near Maiduguri.
President Muhammadu Buhari this week visited neighboring Cameroon to bolster support for the 8,700-strong, four-nation army to curb the uprising that has spilled across borders. Deployment has been delayed by a lack of funds.
The six-year-old uprising has killed 20,000 people and driven nearly two million from their homes.
Earlier this month a child girl suicide bomber, aged about ten, killed at least 19 people in a crowded market area in the Nigerian city of Damaturu in Yobe state.
Dozens of others were also injured in the attack.
The suspect set off her device just when security personnel were screening people before letting them enter the market area.
No group has formally claimed responsibility but Boko Haram Islamists are suspected to be behind the bombing.
A police spokesman said that “a female of about ten years old capitalised on the crowded entrance of the market where screening was being conducted and detonated the device”.