Scores killed as blasts rock Gombe, Bauchi

Boko Haram bomb explosionTwo blasts rocked crisis-hit northern Nigeria on Monday, with one bombing killing at least 20 people and a second explosion setting fire to a market, where about 15 were feared dead.

The targeted cities of Bauchi and Gombe have both been hit previously by Boko Haram and while there was no claim of responsibility for the latest unrest, the Islamists were suspected.

Separately, witnesses said Boko Haram gunmen stormed the northeast town of Geidam at the weekend, razing several government buildings and a prison in an attack that set many inmates free.

The first bombing hit the Dukku motor park on the outskirts of Gombe city, capital of Gombe State, at roughly 10:50 am, officials said.

State secretary for the Red Cross Abubakar Yakubu Gombe said his staff sent 20 body bags to the scene and “they have all been exhausted”, adding that another 18 people with “serious” injuries had been taken to hospital.

The bomb had been planted near a bus that was waiting to fill up, officials said.

Witness Awwalu Lame said a mob formed at the station shortly after the blast went off, with locals throwing stones at the security services.

The second blast hit Bauchi city, the capital of Bauchi State, at roughly 5:00 pm.

Witnesses said at least 15 people were killed in the attack which occurred near a police outpost inside the market.

A witness, identified as Mu’azu Musa, said he saw charred bodies of victims evacuated from the scene of the blast.

Musa, an Okada rider, said he was by the roundabout near the market when the blast occurred, throwing him down from his motorcycle.

Victims of the attack were seen evacuated from the scene by Red Cross officials to the Trauma Centre of the Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University Teaching Hospital (ATBUTH).

Speaking with journalists at the hospital, the Deputy Chairman, Medical Advisory Council (CMAC) of the hospital in charge of clinical matters, Dr Saidu Kadas, said that the actual figure of casualties could not be ascertained yet as victims were still being taken to the hospital.

He, however, assured that the teaching hospital was in a better stead to handle the situation as most of its health workers had been mobilised to attend to the victims.