Three Suicide Bombers Kill 12 in Nigeria

At least 12 were killed and injured 26 by suspected suicide bombers on Monday in northeast Nigeria’s state of Borno, epicenter of the ultra-hardliners militant Boko Haram insurgency, the chairman of the local emergency agency said.

“Three suicide bomber infiltrated a settlement called Mashimari, in Konduga Local Government,” Reuters cited Ahmed Satomi, chairman of Borno’s State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA). The area is around 35 kilometers southeast of the state capital, Maiduguri.

Another SEMA official said the suicide bombers joined a gathering of farmers in Mashimari before detonating their devices around 11:45 a.m. (1045 GMT) as they mingled with the group.

Nobody has claimed responsibility for the attacks, but the use of suicide bombers is a hallmark of Boko Haram.

Boko Haram, which is trying to create an Islamic state in the Lake Chad region that includes northeast Nigeria, has killed more than 20,000 people and caused over two million to flee their homes since 2009.

Amnesty: Over 300 Civilians Killed by Boko Haram since April

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The Boko Haram extremist group has killed over 300 civilians in Nigeria and Cameroon since April, revealed Amnesty International on Tuesday.

The rights group said that 381 people were killed in what it described as a resurgence of the extremist organization.

The spike in attacks by the extremists is a result of increased use of suicide bombers, often women and girls, who carry out the attacks in highly populated areas in Cameroon’s Far North region and Nigeria’s Borno and Adamawa states, the rights group said. Cameroon has experienced at least one suicide attack per week, it said.

Boko Haram has killed 223 civilians in Nigeria since April. Boko Haram suicide bombers have killed 81 people in Nigeria since the start of April, said Amnesty.

In Cameroon, the extremists have killed at least 158 people in the same period. That is also linked to a rise in suicide bombings, the deadliest of which killed 16 people in Waza in July, the rights group said.

The number of deaths since April 1 is more than double that for the preceding five months, Amnesty said.

“Boko Haram is once again committing war crimes on a huge scale, exemplified by the depravity of forcing young girls to carry explosives with the sole intention of killing as many people as they possibly can,” said Alioune Tine, Amnesty’s director for West and Central Africa.

“This wave of shocking Boko Haram violence, propelled by a sharp rise in suicide bombings, highlights the urgent need for protection and assistance for millions of civilians in the Lake Chad region.”

The Nigerian military has repeatedly said Boko Haram has been “defeated”. But in recent months, it has carried out a string of lethal suicide bombings and other high-profile attacks on towns and an oil exploration team.

In Nigeria, the deadliest attack was in July, when the extremists abducted an oil exploration team with staff of the state oil firm and a university while they were traveling in a military convoy. Boko Haram killed 40 people and kidnapped three others, Amnesty said.

Nigeria and Cameroon’s governments should take swift action to protect civilians in need of humanitarian assistance, it demanded. Boko Haram’s increased attacks have made it difficult to carry out humanitarian operations.

“The international community should also rapidly scale up its commitment to provide life-saving humanitarian assistance to the millions in the region who need it,” urged Tine.

Boko Haram extremists have been crossing into and attacking towns in neighboring countries, including Cameroon and Niger, that contribute to a regional military force trying to eliminate the insurgency.

More than 2.5 million people have been displaced or become refugees in the Lake Chad region – which includes Nigeria, Cameroon, Niger and Chad – while 7.2 million people lack secure access to food because of the conflict with Boko Haram, according to the United Nations.

The insurgency has left more than 20,000 people dead since it began in 2009.

£200 Mn British Pledge to Help Nigeria Fight Boko Haram

Britain will give Nigeria aid worth £200 million over five years to help it cope with its eight-year insurgency being waged by Boko Haram militants, the foreign ministry in London said Wednesday.

“In Maiduguri I met casualties of Boko Haram violence, including bomb and gunshot victims, and saw for myself the displacement of people that brutality and poverty have created,” Foreign Minister Boris Johnson said in a statement.

Johnson visited Maiduguri, the capital of Nigeria’s northeast Borno State and epicenter of the Boko Haram organization, to meet some of those involved in the fight.

The £200 million ($260 million, 220 million euros) will help supply food to 1.5 million people facing famine as a result of the bloody insurgency, while providing treatment for 120,000 children at risk of malnutrition and assisting 100,000 children with education needs.

British military teams will also continue to help prepare Abuja’s security forces for counter-insurgency operations, having already helped to train 28,500 Nigerian personnel.

The extremist group has increasingly used child suicide bombers and targeted civilians in its insurgency which has left at least 20,000 dead and displaced more than 2.6 million.

The British pledge of £200 million came after the Pentagon said it has notified the US Congress of the sale to Nigeria of 12 Super Tucano A-29 planes and weapons worth $593 million, which the West African country wants for its fight against Boko Haram.

The Federal Register on Monday published the Aug. 2 notification from the Pentagon’s Defense Security Cooperation
Agency. The Super Tucano A-29, an agile, propeller-driven plane with reconnaissance and surveillance as well as attack capabilities, is made by Brazil’s Embraer.

Dozens of Casualties in Nigeria Suicide Bombings

Three women suicide bombers blew themselves up at the entrance to a camp for displaced people in northeast Nigeria on Tuesday, killing 28 people and wounding 82, in an attack bearing the hallmark of Boko Haram militants, local sources said.

The attack — the latest in a string of assaults in the troubled region — took place in the town of Mandarari, 25 kilometers from Maiduguri, the capital of Borno state, said Baba Kura, a member of a vigilante force set up to fight militants.

“Three female bombers triggered their explosive outside of the IDP (internally displaced persons) camp… killing 28 people and wounding 82 others,” Kura said.

The first assailant blew herself up, triggering panic, Kura said.

“People were trying to close their shops when two other female bombers triggered their explosives, causing most of the casualties,” he said.

Ibrahim Liman, the head of a local anti-militant militia force, confirmed the details of the attack, and said that more than 80 injured had been taken to Maiduguri hospital.

A source at the hospital said a “huge number” of patients had arrived.

Northeast Nigeria is a hotbed of activity by Boko Haram, involving shootings, bombings and kidnappings.

Nigeria Army Raids UN Compound in City at Center of Boko Haram Conflict

Nigeria’s military raided a United Nations compound on Friday in the northeastern city at the epicenter of a conflict with ultra-hardline Boko Haram, a UN official said.

The objective of the search could not be determined but it could damage an already tense relationship between the military, the United Nations and aid groups tackling one of the world’s largest humanitarian crises sparked by the Boko Haram conflict.

“Members of the Nigerian security forces entered a United Nations base for humanitarian workers in Maiduguri … without authorization,” said Samantha Newport, a spokeswoman for the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.

The security forces, who arrived at about 5 am, “carried out a search of the camp and left at about 0800 hours,” she said, adding that the UN has no information on the reason for the unauthorized search.

“The United Nations is extremely concerned that these actions could be detrimental to the delivery of lifesaving aid to the millions of vulnerable people in the northeast of Nigeria,” Newport said.

The UN’s top representative in Nigeria, the humanitarian coordinator, is communicating with the government about the incident, said Newport.

Nigeria’s theater commander for the conflict with Boko Haram, Ibrahim Attahiru, told Reuters he did not know the reason for the raid on the UN compound.

Spokesmen for Nigeria’s military did not respond to calls and messages seeking comment. A spokesman for Nigeria’s presidency did not respond to a request for comment.

The eight-year insurgency has driven at least 2 million people from their homes and almost 7 million need humanitarian assistance. Tens of thousands live on the brink of famine and millions more lack secure access to food.

More than $650 million has been given by the international community to the response this year, though agencies say more is needed to keep the crisis from worsening.

Throughout the conflict, the army has been accused of human rights violations including unlawful detention, sexual abuse and extrajudicial killings.

The military also plays a key role in the northeast, particularly outside Maiduguri in the state of Borno which has been the worst-hit by Boko Haram.

Aid agencies mostly rely on the army and its convoys for access to other parts of the state and in many camps for displaced people it is the military distributing food and medical supplies.

In February, an air force strike on a refugee camp killed up to 170 people, among them at least six Red Cross aid workers. The military said the attack was an accident.

Sources: Dozens of Casualties in Boko Haram Attack on Nigeria Oil Team

More than 50 people, including civilians and members of the military, were killed in a Boko Haram ambush on an oil exploration team in northeast Nigeria earlier this week, multiple sources have told Agence France Presse.

Tuesday’s attack in the Magumeri area of Borno state on a convoy of specialists from the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) was the militants’ deadliest in months.

The army said on Wednesday that 10 people were killed in the attack.

But one source involved in dealing with the aftermath told AFP on Thursday: “The death toll keeps mounting. Now we have more than 50… and more bodies are coming in. 

“It’s clear that the attack wasn’t for abduction. They (Boko Haram) attacked just to kill.”

An aid agency worker in Magumeri, which is 50 kilometers northwest of Maiduguri, said 47 bodies were recovered from the bush as of Wednesday evening.

“Eleven of them were badly burned in the attack. They were burned alive in their vehicle,” he added. 

“This evening (Thursday), six more bodies were recovered, including one soldier, and many more could be recovered because search and rescue teams are all over the place.”

A medical source at the Nigerian Army 7th Division headquarters at Maimalari barracks in Maiduguri said: “So far we have 18 dead soldiers. Ten were brought yesterday and eight more today.” 

At the University of Maiduguri Teaching Hospital (UMTH), a medical worker said: “We have 19 bodies at the moment of civilians. 

“Fifteen of them were vigilantes (civilian militia) and four were staff from the university. They have been taken for burial.” 

The head of the academic staff union at the University of Maiduguri, Dani Mamman, confirmed they had received four bodies and said two of them were academics.

“We got the impression our staff on the team were rescued because that was what the military spokesman said yesterday,” he added. 

“But we were shocked when we were given four dead bodies. This means it wasn’t a rescue.
 
“We still have other staff that are yet to be accounted for.”

In a statement, Nigeria’s junior oil minister and the former head of the NNPC Emmanuel Ibe Kachikwu described the attack as “unfortunate” but declined to comment on the death toll. 

Nigerian Minister of Defense Mansur Ali blamed the summer wet season for the spike in attacks in the northeast and the loss of control of territory that the army clawed back from Boko Haram last year.

Oil Survey Team Kidnapped by Boko Haram in Northeast Nigeria

Suspected Boko Haram militants have kidnapped 10 members of a geological research team from the University of Maiduguri in northeast Nigeria, the state oil company said on Wednesday.

Nigerian National Petroleum Company spokesman Ndu Ughamadu said the contractors were kidnapped near Jibi village in Borno state on Tuesday afternoon.

“About 10 members of the University of Maiduguri geology and surveying department were abducted by suspected Boko Haram members,” Ughamadu said, noting that the group included academic staff, drivers and other workers.

The University of Maiduguri said some of its lecturers, who were accompanied by security staff, had not returned on Tuesday from an oil prospecting trip. Its spokesman said the university was waiting for a report from security agencies.

NNPC has been surveying for more than a year for what it says could be vast oil reserves in the Lake Chad Basin, a region wracked by Boko Haram’s eight-year insurgency, which has killed at least 20,000 people and forced millions to flee their homes.

OPEC member Nigeria relies on crude oil for two-thirds of government revenue. Attacks on energy facilities in its southern Niger Delta oil heartland last year cut production by more than a third, deepening the recession in Africa’s biggest economy.

Also Wednesday, emergency officials in Nigeria’s largest city said at least five people were killed after a residential building collapsed in Lagos.

Authorities said at least 15 people have been rescued from the rubble of the four-story building that collapsed Tuesday afternoon. Officials have not said what caused the collapse.

Rescue efforts continued overnight and into Wednesday morning.

Boko Haram Suspects Arrested as Suicide Bombers Hit Nigeria Camps

Police in the northern Nigerian city of Kano said they arrested five suspected Boko Haram militants following a gunfight Sunday as eight people were killed after female suicide bombers attacked two displaced persons camps in northeastern Nigeria’s main city of Maiduguri.

The arrested suspects were taken into custody on the outskirts of Kani as they were about to launch attacks on markets and “places of worship”, the city’s state police chief Rabiu Yusuf told reporters.

Intelligence indicated that “the remnant of a Boko Haram group who escaped from Sambisa Forest were regrouping in some states in the north including Kano,” Yusuf said.

The suspected militants opened fire and hurled home-made explosives, injuring three policemen, said Yusuf.

Police arrested five suspects, three men and two women, including a 20-year old Nigerien national, Yusuf added.

Guns, explosives, military uniforms and face masks were recovered from the suspects.

The arrests came as a civilian self-defense group said at least eight people were killed in the Maiduguri suicide bombings that left another 15 people wounded.

Spokesman Bello Danbatta told The Associated Press that the attack started late Sunday night.

Danbatta said one bomber sneaked into the Dalori camp and detonated, and two other attackers exploded on or near the camp’s perimeter fence.

14 Dead in Twin Cameroon Suicide Bombings

Two bombers blew themselves up in a northeastern Cameroon town, killing 14 people and injuring over 40 in an attack likely staged by Boko Haram militants, security sources said Thursday.

The bombings, which took place on Wednesday evening in Waza, five miles from the Nigerian border, targeted a busy area in the market town, the sources said.

The bombers struck an area with “restaurants, telephone cabins and kiosks”, a local official said.

“The town has been sealed off. Nobody can enter and nobody can leave,” the source said, adding that some of the wounded were in “quite serious” condition.

Though Boko Haram was born in Nigeria, the ISIS-affiliated group has carried out frequent attacks in Cameroon, Chad and Niger, prompting the formation of a regional force to fight back.

Cameroon’s Far North region, which borders Nigeria, has seen a resurgence in attacks blamed on Boko Haram after months of relative calm.

Six civilians were killed in mid-June in a double suicide attack in Kolofata, and two others died in Limani at the start of last month when a female bomber blew herself up near the town’s public school.

Some 200,000 Cameroonians from the Far North region have fled their homes in fear of the violence. 

Four Female Suicide Bombers Kill 15 in Nigeria

At least 15 people were killed when four female suicide bombers detonated their explosives in Maiduguri, northeast Nigeria, police said on Wednesday, in the latest violence to hit the strategic city.

Borno state police commissioner Damian Chukwu told reporters the four struck in the suburb of Molai Kalemari on Tuesday night and that most of the victims were civilian militia manning security posts.

“The bombers detonated IEDs (improvised explosive devices) strapped to their bodies at different locations of the area, killing 19 people, including the bombers,” he said.

“A total of 23 people were injured.”

Bello Danbatta, a spokesman for the Civilian Joint Task Force (JTF) militia and chief security officer at the Borno State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA), said it appeared his men were the targets.

Two of the bombers blew themselves up at checkpoints manned by militia members, who assist the military with security and sometimes accompany soldiers on operations against Boko Haram extremists.

“In all we lost 12 of our gallant JTF,” he said.

He added: “Civilian JTF have sacrificed their lives to protect their people and the life and property of the citizens of Borno state.

SEMA operatives in face-masks and white overalls were on Wednesday seen removing body parts from the scene of the attacks. Victims were covered with rugs awaiting burial, as local people looked on.

Suicide bombings have become a feature of Boko Haram’s eight-year insurgency in northeast Nigeria, which has killed at least 20,000 people and made more than 2.6 million others homeless.

Nine people were killed in a string of suicide bomb attacks in the city last month around the Eid al-Fitr holiday marking the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

The University of Maiduguri, which lies on the edge of the city, has become a frequent target since the start of the year, as it teaches the “western” education despised by an affiliate to terror group, ISIS.

Nigeria’s military and government maintain the group is a spent force and on the verge of defeat as a result of sustained counter-insurgency operations since early 2015.

But sporadic fighting still occurs, while mines and blasts remain a constant threat.