Bomb blasts killed at least 50 people on Saturday in Maiduguri, in Nigeria’s northeast, in the worst attacks there since armed fighters tried to seize the city in two major assaults earlier this year. The bombings came amid reports that Boko Haram has pledged allegiance to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).
There was no immediate claim for the bombings but they bore the hallmarks of the group Boko Haram, which has been waging a six-year insurgency to carve out an Islamic state in Africa’s biggest economy.
President Goodluck Jonathan, who is seeking re-election on March 28, has been heavily criticized for failing to crush the group. The vote was postponed for six weeks from Feb. 14 for security reasons.
Around noon on Saturday, a tricycle rider detonated a bomb after being prevented from entering a fish market on the Baga road in the west of Maiduguri, Mohammad Ajia, a trader at the market said after fleeing the scene.
A second blast hit an area known as the Monday market shortly afterwards before a car bomb exploded by a bus station near a Department of State Security (DSS) office, according to a civilian member of a joint task force.
“We’ve received 50 dead bodies from the blast scenes and 36 injured people,” Salisu Kwaya Bura, chief medical officer of Borno Specialists Hospital, told reporters.
The number of wounded was well above 36 as more had been taken to two other hospitals, a hospital source said.