As muslims in Nigeria marked the Eid-el-malud celebration to commemorate the birth of Prophet Mohammed, a suspected suicide bomber unleashed mayhem in Maiduguri, Borno State that has left at least 17 persons dead.
Eyewitnesses said the explosion took place at the popular GSM Market near the Post Office in Maiduguri at about 2:00p.m. shortly after the Zuhur prayers.
Confirming the incident, the Commissioner of Police in the State, Lawan Tanko, said the suicide bomber who was driving vehicle stocked with firewood, detonated his bomb around 1:00p.m and that security agents rushed to the scene as quickly as possible and cordoned off the place.
“We counted about 17 dead bodies as at 2.30 p.m. but the evacuation is ongoing. We also counted five injured persons (including a traffic warder) that were carried to hospital,” he added.
He said he had instructed his men to visit hospitals in the state capital to get comprehensive details of the casualties of the blast.
Tanko said that the police had also fortified security in all public places to prevent any incident in the state capital.
A Red Cross official who helped in evacuating the victims, Ibrahim Mubi, confirmed the development, saying the he could not give the actual number of the casualties at the time.
A trader at the GSM market, Fantami Ali, told journalists that he counted about 30 corpses after the blast.
“We were busy conducting businesses at the market when we heard explosion on the road. We later realised that it was a suicide bomber using fire wood seller’s pick up van that detonated bomb in the middle of the road during a busy hour at the market,” he said.
“We counted about 30 dead bodies after the incident. We also helped to evacuate about 50 persons who were injured at the scene, Ali added.