MAIDUGURI, Nigeria: Three bombs exploded in as many minutes in this city in northeast Nigeria, killing at least seven people, witnesses and the army said Wednesday. Authorities blamed the Boko Haram Islamic extremist group.
The attack in the densely populated suburb of Ajilari-Cross came Tuesday night as residents exhausted by daytime temperatures that soared to 39 degrees Celsius (over 100 degrees Fahrenheit) were coming out of stuffy homes to enjoy the evening breeze.
Resident Abubakar Sadiq said the three explosions were followed by gunfire.
Civilian self-defense fighter Abbas Gava said a dozen people were killed and wounded in three suicide bombings. Army spokesman Col. Sani Usman said seven people were killed in what appeared to be suicide bombings staged by Boko Haram.
Last month, 54 people were killed and 90 wounded in a suicide bombing at a mosque in Ajilari-Cross.
Also Tuesday, soldiers attacked militants believed responsible for raiding a military camp last week in northeastern Geidam town, Usman said. The soldiers killed 10 insurgents and captured an anti-aircraft gun, rifles and submachine guns and an all-terrain vehicle, he said.
Separately, suspected Boko Haram militants armed with a rocket-propelled grenade on Tuesday attacked troops patrolling near a mosque in central Kogi state. Usman said one soldier and two militants died in what is believed to be the first extremist attack in Kogi.
President Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday told the visiting commander of the U.S. Africa Command, Gen. David Rodriguez, that he expects the “final routing of Boko Haram as an organized fighting force” by year’s end.
The U.S. State Department on Wednesday denounced Boko Haram’s “unabated and horrific campaign of indiscriminate murder and violence throughout the Lake Chad Basin region,” and called its use of child suicide bombers “particularly heinous.”