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There was panic in Maiduguri, the capital of Borno State, on Sunday morning as two suicide bombers, a male and female, detonated the bomb strapped on them at about 8.50am.
The explosives killed the two suicide bombers while 18 others at the scene were injured.
One of the injured persons died later at the hospital where the 18 were taken to for treatment.
Our correspondent gathered that the casualty figure could have been very high, had security operatives not denied the bombers access to the Maiduguri Monday Market.
The bombers, said to be teenagers, were said to have detonated the explosives when they were accosted by security operatives attached to the market.
Speaking on the incident, the spokesman for the National Emergency Management Agency, Sani Datti, in a text message to our correspondent, said, “A male and female suicide bombers have detonated explosives near Monday Market, Maiduguri this morning (Sunday).”
Datti said rescue workers were deployed in the scene to assist the injured.
He added, “Only the two suicide bombers lost their lives while 17 persons were injured and evacuated to the Specialist Hospital Maiduguri.”
Speaking to journalists at the scene of the explosion, the Borno State Commissioner of Police, Damian Chukwu, said, “At about 8.50am today (Sunday), two suicide bombers detonated IEDs strapped to their bodies at the Monday Market roundabout; 18 persons sustained varying degrees of injuries, and are presently at the state Specialist Hospital while only the suicide bombers died in the blast.”
Datti, who had earlier confirmed that only two suicide bombers died in the explosion, later called our correspondent to explain that one of the 17 injured victims of the explosion had died at the hospital.
Meanwhile, the Borno State government has summoned all stakeholders to a meeting to brainstorm on solution to suicide attacks in Maiduguri.
The state Governor, Kashim Shettima, summoned officials of all markets, motor parks, shopping complexes, football fields and other places of public gatherings in Maiduguri to an emergency security meeting with heads of security agencies and the civilian Joint Task Force on Monday (today).
The stakeholders are expected to gather at the Borno State Government House in Maiduguri, to discuss how to improve the security of the town and check the activities of suicide bombers.
Shettima also visited the scene of the suicide attack around the market and was at the accident and emergency ward of the Maiduguri Specialist Hospital where he met each of the survivors.
The governor was told that three of the injured persons were in the theatre, undergoing emergency surgery.
The commissioner of police had informed the governor that the suicide attacks were carried out by two suicide bombers at two close spots, both outside the Maiduguri Monday market before 10am.
The CP told the governor that besides the two suicide bombers who died on the spot, one other person died among the 18 persons that were injured in the explosion.
Shettima said, “Tomorrow, we will be having an emergency security meeting involving the management of all the markets, motor parks, shopping centres, football fields and other attack-prone areas and we will invite the civilian JTF and of course our security officials so that we cross-pollinate ideas and come up with some new measures that will strengthen our existing security structure around markets.
“We have been taking different steps as the insurgents change their ways; we will all meet and come with measures that will not be made public. This suicide attack is highly unfortunate; I condole with the families of the victims. Insha Allah, we will always do the best we can to prevent this kind of bloodbath.”
The governor had in December 2014 ordered that roads to most markets in the state should be barricaded, while youth volunteers under the civilian JTF were posted around markets in the state. The Sunday attack was not the first on the Monday Market by the Boko Haram insurgents, who had at different times in the past used persons who concealed bombs and pretended to be buyers of wares to attack the market.