The blasts are blamed on Nigeria's homegrown Boko Haram Islamic extremist group
(DAMATURU, Nigeria) — Suicide bombs have killed at least 64 people in multiple blasts in the northeastern towns of Gombe and Damaturu, officials said Friday, scaring people into staying home during the Muslim Eid al-Fitr celebration.
Police say two women suicide bombers killed 12 people at two prayer grounds in Damaturu on Friday morning as people were preparing to celebrate the end of Ramadan, the Muslim holy month of fasting.
Hours earlier two bombs killed 50 people buying goods for the holiday at the market in Gombe, according to National Emergency Management Agency spokesman Sani Datti. Another 75 wounded are being treated in two hospitals there, he said.
The blasts are blamed on Nigeria’s home-grown Boko Haram Islamic extremist group which has launched a string of attacks that have killed hundreds during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, which ended Friday.
The upsurge in attacks followed a directive to create more mayhem during Ramadan from the Islamic State group, to which Boko Haram has sworn allegiance. It also followed the May 29 inauguration of President Muhammadu Buhari, who has sworn to defeat the insurgents.
Nigeria’s new army chief, Maj. Gen. Tukur Buratai, was in Damaturu on a visit to boost troops’ morale Friday and prayed at the town’s Central Mosque. He was appointed last week when Buhari fired the entire top echelon of the military that he has accused of corruption that prevents what was once Africa’s mightiest armed force from curbing the insurgency centered in Nigeria’s northeast.
Recent attacks also have included the central city of Jos and the northern cities of Kano and Zaria.
Faul reported from Lagos, Nigeria.