Two Blasts Rock Maiduguri Killing Many

Twin blasts rocked a market and a nearby commercial street in Maiduguri, northeast Nigeria, on Tuesday, after attacks blamed on Boko Haram killed 58 in the city at the weekend, witnesses said.

“There have been two blasts this afternoon, one targeting the fish section of the Monday Market and the other one at Gida Madara,” said Abubakar Gamandi, who heads the fishermen’s union in Borno state, of which Maiduguri is the capital.

The Monday Market was one of three sites targeted at the weekend in the bombings blamed on the Islamist militants.

“Nobody is allowed close to the scenes of the blast,” said Bukar Ali, who was also in the area when both explosions went off.

The causes of the explosions were not immediately clear but Boko Haram has repeatedly attacked Maiduguri through suicide attacks and by planting bombs in densely populated areas.

In recent weeks, the insurgents have increasingly deployed female suicide bombers to carry out attacks.

Experts have voiced concern that Boko Haram would seek to boost bomb attacks in urban centres after reportedly suffering heavily losses in more remote areas of northeast Nigeria.

Nigeria and neighbouring Cameroon, Chad and Niger have launched a joint offensive against the militants, with regional militaries claiming massive gains over the rebels.

Several towns and villages previously under Boko Haram control have been retaken, according to military statements.

Boko Haram fighters across the restive region are thought to be facing steady pressure from the four-nation offensive and seeking softer targets in response.

Boko Haram pledged allegiance to the Islamic State group at the weekend in a move many saw as a publicity stunt. There were however also concerns over whether it could eventually lead to deeper links with foreign jihadists.

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