1 July 2014

Nigeria: Bomb Kills At Least 15 in Maiduguri, Birthplace of Boko Haram

A car bomb has exploded in the northeast Nigerian city that is the birthplace of Boko Haram, reducing stalls, goods and vehicles to piles of trash. Authorities have estimated that the explosion killed at least 15 people.

The explosion just after the market in Maiduguri opened at 8 a.m. (0700 UTC) on Tuesday reduced stalls and goods to debris and set ablaze several cars and tricycle taxis.

No group claimed responsibility for Tuesday's attack, but blame will likely fall on the terror group Boko Haram, which began in Maiduguri over a decade ago and has killed thousands since militarizing its uprising against the government in 2009.

Maiduguri, the capital of Borno state and a city of more than 1 million people, has experienced many such attacks. At one point, explosions in the city became a daily occurrence, but a huge military offensive launched last year - backed by vigilantes - has had some success in flushing groups such as Boko Haram into more remote corners of Borno state.

The attacks appear to have begun again, however. In March, twin car bombs killed more than 50 people at a late-night market where they had gathered to watch a football match on a big-screen.

Mounting toll nationwide

Nigeria is also under siege. Three simultaneous attacks on Monday killed dozens of people. On Sunday, attackers sprayed gunfire on worshippers in four churches in a northeastern village and torched the buildings, reportedly killing at least 30 people there.

Last week, an explosion at the biggest shopping mall in Abuja, the third in two months in Nigeria's capital, killed more than 20 people; another at a medical college in northern Kano, the second in two months in the city, killed eight; and one at a hotel and brothel in northeast Bauchi city killed 10.

In May, twin car bombs at a marketplace also left more than 130 dead in central Jos city and killed at least 14 people at a World Cup viewing site in Damaturu, another town in the northeast. Boko Haram, which would eventually claim many of those attacks, has also been implicated in a series of kidnappings in Nigeria.

The United Nations has alleged that the government has failed in its duty to protect citizens. In a statement released Monday, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said he "reiterates the readiness of the United Nations to support Nigeria as it responds to this challenge in a manner consistent with its international human rights obligations."

The ongoing violence has displaced thousands of people.

mkg/slk (Reuters, AFP, dpa, AP)

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Date 01.07.2014

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