AT least 47 people were killed and dozens wounded in a bomb blast Tuesday in a part of northeast Nigeria frequently targeted by Boko Haram Islamists, a medical source and witnesses said.
The explosion ripped through the weekly market in the village of Sabon Gari, around 135 kilometres (85 miles) south of Borno state capital Maiduguri, during peak trading around 1:15 pm (1230 GMT), the sources said.
“We have received at least 47 dead bodies and at least 50 with injuries from the Sabon Gari market, where there was a blast this afternoon,” a nurse at Biu General Hospital, around 50 kilometres (30 miles) away, told AFP.
He said the injuries from the blast are mostly “severe” and that the death toll was expected to rise.
“The explosion happened inside the market at the mobile phone section, near the livestock section of the market,” said Yuram Bura, a member of a local vigilante group fighting Boko Haram alongside the army.
“It was concealed in a napsack used for spraying herbicides. It was smuggled into the market and apparently abandoned… This is no doubt the handiwork of Boko Haram.”
Nigeria is facing a sharp spike in attacks since Muhammadu Buhari became president at the end of May after campaigning to crush Boko Haram.
The militant group has been waging a six-year battle to impose their version of Shariah, or Islamic law, in Africa’s most populous nation, killing thousands and displacing more than 1.5 million people.
Last month Buhari visited the US to drum up support Nigeria’s counter-terrorism effort, and last week he was in Benin, which said it will contribute 800 troops to a regional military force combating Boko Haram.
The conflict has drawn troops from neighbouring nations like Cameroon, Niger, and Chad, with the latter two contributing troops that helped stop Boko Haram’s momentum early in the year..