Nigeria: Twin suicide attacks kill over 60 in Mubi
A day after US President Donald Trump pledged greater support to fight the Islamist militants, suicide bombers killed over 60 people at a mosque and a market in northeast Nigeria on Tuesday, in a twin attack bearing the hallmarks of Boko Haram. The blasts, said to have been carried out by young boys, happened in Mubi, some 200km from the Adamawa state capital, Yola.
National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA)'s Imam Garki said a joint assessment with police and Red Cross found that 26 people were killed and 56 were injured. Critically injured (11) were transferred to Federal Medical Center in Yola for treatment. But a medical source at Mubi General Hospital said they received 37 bodies, while a rescue worker said he counted 42 dead and 68 injured.
Abdullahi Labaran said the first bomber detonated his explosives "five minutes before the prayer started" in the mosque. While, the second bomber blew himself up among the crowds of worshippers, traders, and shoppers as they fled the first explosion.
Two local residents who attended funerals for the victims said the death toll was much higher and could climb further. "Before I left the cemetery I took part in the burial of 68 people. More bodies were being brought by families of the victims. I think this is the worst attack Mubi has ever witnessed. The human loss is unimaginable," said Muhammad Hamidu.
Conflicting death tolls are not unusual in Nigeria. The authorities have also previously played down casualty figures. Suspicion for attack immediately fell on Boko Haram, the jihadist group whose quest to establish a hardline Islamic state in northeast Nigeria has left at least 20,000 dead since 2009. Mubi has repeatedly been targeted in attacks since it was briefly overrun by militants in late 2014.
Nigeria's government has long maintained that IS is on the verge of defeat. But there has been no let-up in attacks in the northeast, particularly in Borno state, adjacent to Adamawa, which has been the epicenter of violence. Last Thursday, at least four people were killed when suicide bombers and fighters attempted to storm the Borno state capital, Maiduguri, raising fresh questions about security.
Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has been in the US this week and met President Donald Trump, who pledged more support in the fight against Boko Haram. Nigeria bought a dozen A-29 Super Tucano light fighter aircraft in a $496mn deal. Trump indicated a further order for attack helicopters was also in pipeline. "These new aircraft will improve Nigeria's ability to target terrorists," Trump said.
The sale of aircraft was previously blocked by the Obama administration after the Nigerian Air Force mistakenly bombed a camp for people displaced by Boko Haram, killing 112. US military officials in Abuja have recently questioned Nigerian tactics faced with guerilla tactics from Boko Haram.
On November 21, 2017, at least 50 people were killed when a suicide bomber blew himself up in a mosque during early morning prayers in Mubi's Unguwar Shuwa area. In October 2012, 40 were killed in an attack on student housing in Mubi. In June 2014, at least 40 football supporters died in a bomb attack after a match in Kabang area of town.