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Dozens killed in northeastern Nigeria blast, Boko Haram suspected

Dozens of people have been killed after an explosion hit a busy market in the northeastern Nigerian city of Yola. There was no immediate claim of responsibility but Boko Haram came under immediate suspicion.

At least 31 people were killed when the explosion ripped through the market just as merchants were set to close their stalls on Thursday evening, according to a Nigerian civil defense official.

Sa'ad Bello, the National Emergency Management Agency's coordinator in Yola, told the AFP news agency that 38 people were also wounded in the blast.

"Some whose injuries were not severe were discharged," Bello said.

The explosion occurred at the Jimeta Main Market in Yola, which is the capital of Nigeria's northeastern Adamawa state. While it happened on Thursday evening, news of the blast didn't begin to emerge until Friday.

Details remain sketchy, but the DPA news agency cited an eyewitness who said it was the work of a suicide bomber.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility, but observers say it had all the hallmarks of Boko Haram, which has stepped up its attacks since

President Muhammadu Buhari took office last week

, after being elected on a pledge to crack down on the Islamist extremists.

Yola has suffered attacks in the past, but not in recent years, something that has given it a reputation as a relatively safe city for some among the

thousands who have been forced to flee their homes

due to Boko Haram's campaign of violence.

pfd/msh (AP, AFP, dpa)

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