MAIDUGURI, Nigeria (AP) — 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. Army spokesman Col. Sani Usman said seven people were killed in what appeared to be three 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 and killed 10 militants believed responsible for raiding a military camp last week, Usman said.
In central Kogi state, suspected Boko Haram militants armed with a rocket-propelled grenade Tuesday attacked troops patrolling near a mosque. 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 leader 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.
In Washington, the White House said 90 U.S. troops are headed to Cameroon, one of three neighboring countries to which Boko Haram has spread its attacks.
The Americans, the vanguard of a group that could number 300, will conduct airborne intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance in the region, the White House said.
An offensive by a multinational army of Nigeria and its neighbors has been long delayed by funding and disputes.