Eight suspected Boko Haram Suicide Bombers lay dead Thursday night after a futile attempt to attack Maiduguri, the Borno State capital. Most of them were girls.
They were blown up by the Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) they strapped to their bodies when the car in which they rode tried to overrun a security post at Muna Garage on the city’s eastern outskirts. Muna Garage has been attacked several times in recent months.
Two members of the vigilance group popularly called Civilian JTF also lost their lives in the incident,while 13 pickup trucks loaded with goods awaiting departure to Gamboru Ngala yesterday were burnt.
But the police confirmed only one death. Residents said multiple explosions echoed across the area .
The National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) said yesterday that the suicide bombers came through Mafa- Dikwa road in a Volkswagen Golf.
Sani Datti, Head of Media and Public Relations of NEMA said in a statement that seven security personnel were injured.
The seven corpses of the suicide bombers were evacuated to the State Specialist Hospital by NEMA and Borno SEMA team.
His words: “Yesterday (Thursday) at about 11:00pm, Boko Haram members attempted to attack Maiduguri. They came through Mafa- Dikwa road along Muna community. The suicide bombers came in a Volkswagen Golf carrying eight suicide bombers most of whom were female teenagers.
“The driver attempted to overrun the security post where the security personnel were stationed, but few of the personnel sustained minor injuries, while the remaining bombers detonated their IED in some of the communities in Muna Dalti settlement.
“Seven Civilian Joint Task Force (CJTF) sustained minor injuries and were taken to University of Maiduguri Teaching Hospital (UMTH). Some of the suicide bombers found their way to a place where people gathered with their trucks loaded with goods for onward movement to Mafa, Dikwa and Ngala LGAs.
“Over 14 loaded trucks were burnt by the suicide bombers, though, no casualty was recorded. The seven corpses of the suicide bombers were evacuated to the State Specialist Hospital by NEMA and Borno SEMA team.” Victor Isuku, the police spokesman ,in a separate statement said: “Yesterday (Thursday) at about 2318hrs, a suicide bomber sneaked into the midst of 13 pick-up trucks loaded with goods along Maiduguri/Mafa road, said to be awaiting departure to Gamboru Ngala early hours of today (Friday) and detonated Improvised Explosive Devices, IEDs strapped on self.”He said that only the bomber was killed during the incident as the vehicles were empty. “The resulting explosion razed down the parked vehicles beyond recognition. EOD/Police patrol team were promptly deployed to the scene to restore safety and normalcy”.“Most of the trucks that were loaded with goods for export to Chad and the border communities were destroyed, along with commodities worth millions of naira,” an eyewitness said.
A large refugee camp is close to the Muna garage and outside it were crowds of displaced people gathering around trucks to form convoys before trying to return home.
Another eyewitness said one blast occurred as people were trying to board the trucks.
Soldiers reportedly fired at gunmen on motorcycles escorting other suicide bombers, killing some of the bombers. The police denied that soldiers fired at anyone.
A different account of the incident by Civilian-JTF operatives is that a few hours after the Muna explosions, soldiers at Muna Dalti, a location about a kilometre away from the first explosion, shot six suicide bombers who were attempting to sneak into town at about 2 a.m.
Some Boko Haram gunmen who were riding on motorcycles accompanied the six suicide bombers, they said.
On Wednesday, Boko Haram fighters fired at a military helicopter on a humanitarian mission in the northeast, wounding one airman, the Nigerian Air Force said. Last week, the extremists ambushed a convoy of new recruits, killing seven, the military and a self-defense commander said.
Governor Kashim Shettima of Borno yesterday donated cash to the seven members of the Civilian JTF who were injured in the bombing.
Shettima was on a sympathy visit to them at the University of Maiduguri Teaching Hospital, Maiduguri, where they are being treated.
He urged the hospital management to provide them proper treatment.