Boko Haram attacks on mosque and football fans kill 54 in Nigeria

Boko Haram attacks on mosque and football fans kill 54 in Nigeria
(Tuesday, September 22, 2015) 10:08

Victims receive treatment at a hospital, after an explosion in Maiduguri, Nigeria.

At least 54 people have been killed in a series of blasts in northeast Nigeria, the latest attacks by Boko Haram militants on "soft" civilian targets.

The attacks in the city of Maiduguri on Monday targeted the Ajilari Cross evening market area and neighbouring Gomari, hitting worshippers at a mosque and football fans watching a televised match.

The army and rescuers said the explosions were caused by homemade devices, but one local and the police said a female suicide bomber also blew herself up.

"Fifty-four persons died while 90 others were injured," Borno state police spokesman Victor Isuku told reporters.

"Those injured are being treated at Umaru Shehu General hospital and the (Borno) State Specialist hospital respectively."

The blasts - the latest to hit the city in the six-year insurgency - came after Nigeria's army claimed the rebels were in disarray.

But Boko Haram's shadowy leader Abubakar Shekau denied the group was a spent force, describing the military claims as "lies" in an audio recording published via social media on Saturday.

The explosions also followed a warning from Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari that "conventional" Boko Haram attacks were decreasing, but that suicide and homemade bomb outrages could continue.

Maiduguri, the capital of Borno state and the birthplace of Boko Haram in 2002, has been the epicentre of the six-year-old insurgency and repeatedly attacked since Buhari assumed office.

Since May 29, at least 1100 people have been killed, with the majority of attacks in Borno, according to AFP reporting.

Overall, the violence has left at least 17,000 dead since 2009, according to Amnesty International, while the UN estimates that more than two million have been made homeless in the same period.

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