Bomb rocks troubled northeastern Nigerian city

Reuters News
|
Posted: Jul 23, 2011 6:29 PM
Bomb rocks troubled northeastern Nigerian city

MAIDUGURI, Nigeria (Reuters) - Several people were wounded in a bomb blast in Maiduguri on Saturday, a city in remote northeastern Nigeria which has been plagued by almost daily attacks from a radical Islamist sect.

"Three soldiers have been injured in the Saturday evening bomb blast that occurred close to the Palace of the Shehu of Borno," Hassan Mohammed, an officer in the Joint Task Force (JTF) told Reuters.

The Shehu is a traditional ruler in Borno state, one of the poorest regions in Africa's most populous nation, close to borders with Chad, Cameroon and Niger.

Witnesses at a local hospital said at least one body from the blast site had been brought to the mortuary.

Boko Haram, which wants sharia law more widely applied across Nigeria, has claimed responsibility for almost daily bombings and shootings in Borno, mostly targeting police, churches and drinking spots.

The JTF have been accused of using indiscriminate force in retaliation to the attacks, leading to the deaths of civilians and the destruction of homes. The government said there have been only isolated misdemeanors by soldiers.

The heightened clashes between the JTF and Boko Haram forced thousands to flee Maiduguri earlier this month. Violence has killed more than 150 people in the city this year.

Bomb blasts in the north have replaced militant attacks on oil facilities hundreds of kilometers (miles) way in the southern Niger Delta as the main security threat in Nigeria. The United States and European Union have condemned the violence.

Boko Haram strikes have spread farther afield in recent months, including a bomb in the car park of national police headquarters in the capital, Abuja, last month.

(Reporting by Ibrahim Mshelizza; writing by Joe Brock)