Death toll in the explosions that occurred Tuesday at Mulai, in the outskirt of Maiduguri, capital of Borno State, has reached 21, while 17 persons are said to have been injured.
Military spokesman, Chris Olukolade, a major general, said 15 of the dead were civilians including a member of Youth Vigilante Group, known as Civilian JTF, while the remaining six were terrorist suicide bombers.
Five soldiers were among the 17 persons injured in the incident.
Olukolade said the four suicide bombers were probably heading for a facility of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, along Maiduguri-Damboa road in four explosive – laden vehicles.
“Three explosive-laden vehicles were demobilised by shots fired at them by soldiers at the checkpoint shortly before the explosions that rocked the area,” he said.
But a fourth car exploded, apparently set off by one of the militants.
The Army spokesman said 8 vehicles were altogether destroyed and one arrest was made.
“Six of the terrorists died while one has been arrested,” the statement said.
At least 1,500 lives have been claimed in the restive north-eastern region in the first quarter of this year alone, according to latest figures.
Half of those killed were civilians, Amnesty International, the watchdog organisation said in a report released on Monday.
The organisation blamed both “an increase in attacks by Boko Haram and uncontrolled reprisals by Nigeria’s security forces” for the high death toll.