20 dead after Nigeria attacks

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Abuja, June 17 (IANS) The Nigerian Police on Sunday said security personnel found 20 bodies following twin blasts and a rocket attack in a town in Borno.

Borno police chief Damian Chukwu said 48 others were wounded following the incident in Damboa town late on Saturday, bearing a hallmark of a terrorist attack, Xinhua news agency reported.

Chukwu said the wounded victims were rushed by the police and a local rescue agency to two government hospitals in Borno.

According to him, the number of casualties is on the high side as most of the victims were returning from celebrating the Eid-ul-Fitr holiday when the attackers struck.

Another official told Xinhua the twin blasts occurred as some residents of the town were returning from a live screening of a football match between Nigeria and Croatia at the ongoing Russia 2018 FIFA World Cup.

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Damboa is a local government area in Borno, located 88 km to the capital city of Maiduguri.

Earlier, local officials and security sources confirmed at least 34 people killed and 18 others wounded.

Mohammed Abulam, a militia leader, told Xinhua two male bombers carried out the suicide attacks, killing 10 people and leaving five wounded.

“We counted 24 more people and 13 others wounded following the rocket-propelled grenade attack,” Abulam said, suspecting terror group Boko Haram of being responsible for the attack.

The National Emergency Management Agency said 12 of the wounded victims are in critical conditions and the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs was organising a chopper to evacuate them to Maiduguri.

On May 15, the Nigerian Army launched a four-month operation to totally defeat Boko Haram in the Lake Chad region.

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Earlier on Saturday, at an inauguration ceremony for gunboats by the military, Army chief Tukur Buratai said Boko Haram fighters were no longer a threat in Nigeria’s northeast, urging Borno residents “to return to their communities which have long been liberated by our gallant troops”.

Boko Haram has been blamed for the death of more than 20,000 people and displacement of 2.3 million others in Nigeria since 2009.

–IANS

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