KANO: Eighteen people were killed when a suicide bomber blew himself up at a crowded bus station in northeast Nigeria on Thursday, while a second bomber was shot dead before he could detonate his explosives, witnesses said.
Babagana Kyari, a civilian vigilante, said “at least 18 people, including three women, died… and several others were injured” in an account supported by local resident Ali Dauda.
The attack happened after two men arrived the Tashar Gandu motor park on the edge of the town in Borno state, where one detonated his explosives among passengers and vendors, onlookers said.
The suicide bombing is the second this week, after 34 people were killed in a blast at a bus station in the city of Kano, on Tuesday. That death toll was revised upwards from the initial estimate of 10.
Another blast hours earlier, also at a bus station, killed 17 in the commercial capital of Yobe state, Potiskum, but it was not confirmed as a suicide attack.
No group has claimed responsibility for either bombing but Boko Haram has repeatedly targeted both places, as well as Biu.
On February 18, 36 people were killed when assailants in a motorised rickshaw detonated explosives at Yarmakumi village near Biu, with most of the victims child vendors and beggars.
The attacks again underscore the threat posed by Boko Haram, which experts say may resort to such tactics as they are pushed out of captured territory in the northeast by a multi-national military force.
The two men in the latest attack pretended to be traders leaving Biu after business at the main market, which takes place every Thursday and Sunday, said Kyari.
“The two men came as if they were travellers and one of them detonated his explosives in the midst of travellers and petty traders,” the vigilante added.
“But the second man was shot and killed by soldiers before he could pulled the trigger”. Dauda said the scene was cordoned off by soldiers and vigilantes, while they waited the arrival of the police bomb squad to defuse the unexploded explosives on the second attacker.
“His body was abandoned at the scene of the blast which was cordoned off with the hope the explosives would explode by themselves,” he added.
“When the explosives failed to explode after a long wait a mob who gathered near the scene took the risk and sprinkled gasoline on the body and three fire at it from a distance.
“The body caught fire and exploded without harming anyone”.