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Bomb and rocket attacks claim 30

Updated: 2015-06-01 07:28
By Agencies in Abujia and Maiduguri, Nigeria (China Daily)

A suicide bomb blast outside a mosque and rocket-propelled grenades that exploded into homes as people slept killed at least 30 people in the Nigerian city of Maiduguri on Saturday, residents and officials said.

The explosion killed people who were prostrating themselves for afternoon prayers outside the mosque, including traders from a crowded marketplace in the largest city in Nigeria's troubled northeast, survivors said.

Trader Ali Bakomi said the bomber was pushing a wheelbarrow and pretending to be an itinerant trader.

Officials said the bomber killed himself and 16 other people.

Earlier on Saturday, rocket-propelled grenades killed at least 13 in the city and injured more, according to resident Idrissa Mandara. Such grenades are a new tactic that has brought terror to the city that is the birthplace of Boko Haram.

Mari Madu, another resident, said he counted 40 thunderous blasts before he lost count.

"Each time they fired into the town, we saw bright sparkling flashes which moved with great speed," he said. "One of the blasts shook my roof so badly that I thought the grenade must have landed on my house."

Several homes were destroyed in the suburb of Dala-Lawanti, about 20 km west of the city center, he said.

He counted 13 people killed in his compound: six men, five children and two women.

An intelligence officer said Boko Haram was firing the rocket-propelled grenades. Soldiers fired heavy assault rifles in response, said the officer, who insisted on anonymity because he is not supposed to give information to journalists.

Civilian self-defense fighters patrolled until dawn to ensure the Islamic extremists did not get through barriers of sandbags and trenches, said one of the fighters, Abbas Gava.

Boko Haram has killed 13,000 people in northeastern Nigeria in the past six years. Maiduguri's population of 2 million has swelled with hundreds of thousands of refugees who have been forced from their homes.

AP - Xinhua

 Bomb and rocket attacks claim 30

Residents search the scene of a fatal suicide bombing in Maiduguri, Nigeria, on Saturday. Jossyola / Associated Press

(China Daily 06/01/2015 page12)

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