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Conflicting Casualty Figures Emerge From Borno Twin Explosions
Musdapha Ilo, Maiduguri
The Police on Sunday said at least 35 people were killed following two explosions Saturday night in the Ajilari- Bintu Sugar area of Borno State, but the Red Cross says not less than 51 corpses have been recovered.
Local sources, however, say that more than hundred were killed and expect the figure to rise.
Hospital sources said most of the corpses brought in were children.
The blasts reportedly occurred two minutes apart around 6pm on Saturday at a densely populated part of the town where roadside food vendors and their patronisers gather in the evenings to satisfy their needs.
According to an eyewitness, business had just commenced as usual when a pick-up van loaded with fire wood suddenly exploded and went into flames.
The first blast did not cause many casualties according to Hassan Ali, the leader of the youth vigilante group, but as people ran to the scene to assist those affected, a second explosion was heard few minutes later.
The magnitude of the blast was so heavy that it shook the area “as if it was an earthquake” and set off heavy dust and smoke in the area, a source said.
Residents of the area who have become familiar with blasts and attacks by insurgents immediately scampered for safety, causing a rowdy scene in the confusion.
Emergency services and members of the youth vigilante group arrived the scene to render help to victims and comb the area in search of clues and explosives devices that may have been planted.
Many residents have fled the area out of fear.
The attack is coming less than a week after terrorists raided the Federal Government College in Buni Yadi, Yobe State and some villages in Adamawa State, killing over 40 students in their dormitories.
The Army command in Yola has been forced to review the curfew period imposed on Michika and Madagali local government areas of Adamawa following the attacks.
A statement issued by the Army’s public relations officer, Jafaru Nuhu, a captain, said the curfew will now be from 7 p.m. to 5 a.m each day instead of 11 p.m. to 5 a.m. until further notice.
The statement read in part that: “the headquarters of the 23 Brigade wishes to bring to the notice of the general populace of Adamawa of the review of curfew period from 7 p.m to 5 a.m in Michika and Madagali. This review affects all towns and villages in the two affected local government areas with effect from Friday, Feb. 28, 2014.”
Nuhu solicited for the support and cooperation of the people of the state in reporting any suspicious person and movement to the nearest security post, even as he requested them to be law abiding and comply strictly with the curfew.