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Nigeria: Suicide bombings kill 13 in Maiduguri

Suicide bombings carried out by as many as three attackers have killed 13 people in Nigeria's northeastern city of Maiduguri. The attack follows army claims that Boko Haram insurgents are nearing defeat.

Three female suicide bombers carried out the attacks, according to a report by the news agency Agence France-Presse.

Residents buying their evening meal at a small restaurant were killed by the first female bomber late Sunday evening, local time, according to a military source quoted by AFP.

Two other bombers detonated their devices minutes later, leaving another 16 people wounded, making the attacks the deadliest in over a month, according to a police commissioner quoted by Reuters.

There were no immediate claims of responsibility.

Those accounts resemble an attack in August on a market near Maiduguri by assailants described as females.

AFP's report on Sunday's bombings said hours beforehand "a lot of Boko Haram members" had been sighted outside the city. 

Desperate haven

Maiduguri, the capital of Nigeria's Borno state, is sheltering hundreds of thousands displaced by eight years of attacks by Boko Haram.

Its bid to set up a hard-line Islamist state in the mainly Muslim northeastern region near Lake Chad has claimed at least 20,000 lives since 2009.

Sustained counterinsurgency operations were begun in early 2015 by Nigeria's military, whose spokesman Brigadier General Sani Usman said last month that suggestions of a Boko Haram resurgence were "concocted."

A "victory over the Boko Haram" had been acknowledged worldwide, Usman claimed.

Boko Haram members 'sighted'

The United Nations agency UNICEF said last week that 450,000 of northeastern Nigeria's children were at high risk of starvation because of the ongoing crisis.

Read more: Nigeria: Fighting hunger and Boko Haram

OCHA, the UN humanitarian affairs coordination office, said 350,000 people were squatting in Maiduguri, without proper access to aid, because the UN lacked nearly $400 million (€339 million).

Outside Maiduguri, dozens of families are living in bamboo huts after their village, Kolori, was recently attacked and burnt down by Boko Haram.

ipj/cmk (AFP, Reuters, dpa)

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