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Nigeria suicide bomb blasts kill at least 20 in Maiduguri

The latest in a series of bomb attacks in Maiduguri has left at least 20 people dead and many more injured. The city has been named as the new military command center to target Boko Haram militants.

The attacks were carried out by two young women who walked through the city carrying explosives.

One of the women exploded her devices at a bus station near a fish market and a mosque in Maiduguri on Monday afternoon.

The attack left at least 20 people dead and an estimated 50 people injured. It was the fifth bomb attack on the city in the last month. There have been three other suicide bombings and an attack on a cattle market (photo).

"We heard a loud explosion at about 3:50 p.m. (14:50 UTC) while we were preparing for afternoon prayers," Danlami Ajaokuta, a civilian vigilante aiding the military against Boko Haram, the militant Islamist group.

"It happened right inside the bus station attached to the fish market where laborers were sorting out rice," he said. One woman carried a large pan which contained the explosives. Another young woman was reported to have run away before her explosives went off. She killed only herself.

There was no immediate claim of responsibity but the attack is likely to be blamed on Boko Haram. The extremists have frequently targeted civilians at markets and bus stations over the last six years. They began to use young women and girls as bomb carriers last year.

With the latest attacks, 180 people have died since the inauguration of new Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari on May 29.

A military coalition to take on Boko Haram has been formed between Nigeria, Niger, Chad and Cameroon, and the alliance had marked a series of successful operations since February. But the latest attacks indicate that Boko Haram still has the capacity to launch operations in the north east.

jm/ng (AP, AFP)

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