West & Central Africa

Boko Haram tightens its grip on local councils, says UN

Three suicide bombers have killed at least 16 people in Maiduguri, north-eastern Nigeria on Sunday night  22 October when they detonated explosives strapped to their bodies at Muna garage and Muna Dalti

Muna Garage IDP Camp, Nigeria

Borno State Commissioner of Police, Damien Chukwu, confirmed the incident in a text message that a suicide bomber had detonated a bombe and killed himself and 13 others and injured five other people.

The text continued: “In another development at Muna Dalti, two female suicide bombers detonated the same killing themselves and injuring thirteen.” He added: “In all, 16 persons were killed while 18 others were injured in the three explosions.”

Muna garage has a major market and also has one of the largest Internally Displaced People’s camp (IDPs) in Maiduguri. It has been targeted by Boko Haram a number of times. Last March, an attack in the camp killed four people.

Thousands of refugees, who have fled the predominantly Christian communities attacked by Boko Haram live in the camp. It is however not clear if any of the displaced persons is a victim of the attacks.

The police commissioner said the injured were conveyed to the University of Maiduguri Teaching Hospital (UMTH) for treatment.

Critics of the government claim that the attacks negate claims made by the Nigerian Army that Boko Haram has been defeated in the north east and the claim that the army is merely carrying out mopping-up exercises.
Last Wednesday, 18 October, three soldiers were killed by the Boko Haram Islamic terrorist fighters in an ambushed on a military convoy in Danboa.

“We lost three soldiers in the ambush by Boko Haram terrorists,” according to a soldier who spoke only on the condition of anonymity. “The terrorists in large number opened fire on the convoy of the commanding officer of 81 Battalion. Five other troops were injured in the intense battle that broke out when soldiers engaged the attackers.”

Sani Mato, a commercial bus driver who was part of the convoy of vehicles said: “I was one of those trailing behind the military convoy when Boko Haram opened fire and soldiers responded with fire.”

Muna Garage attack

Mato told a reporter by telephone from Maiduguri: “The soldiers were able to repel the attack but lost three men. Five were also injured.”Many roads in and out of Maiduguri are not readily accessible without military escort due to the presence of Boko Haram attacks.

the United Nations’ Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian (OCHA) has declared that at least three local government areas in Nigeria are still controlled by Boko Haram making them inaccessible. The declaration contradicts the claims by the Nigerian Military Command that no part of the northeast is controlled by the islamists.

Hassan John is West Africa editor, GCN and Priest of the Anglican Diocese of Jos

Image Credits: CC Google images/Muna Garage blast/Muna Garage Camp