Boko Haram militants are suspected of orchestrating multiple bombings at a market in the northeastern Nigerian city of Gombe. Two bombs went off around 5:30 p.m. local time (1630 GMT). The blasts occurred about five minutes apart. Nobody has claimed responsibility for the blasts. The bombings in the market have killed an estimated 50 people.
Officials from two disaster agencies have commented on the bombings to the media. A Red Cross official and a National Emergency Management Agency representative, who both asked to remain anonymous, estimated that about 50 people were killed. The Red Cross official also estimated that around 70 people were injured in the blasts.
President Muhammadu Buhari has made the fight against Boko Haram a top priority for his administration. Since his presidential inauguration on May 29, hundreds have been killed in bombings and attacks across the country. Recent weeks have seen a string of attacks carried out on targets in northern Nigeria. Boko Haram wants to take over the country’s predominantly-Muslim northeast as their own state and impose strict Sharia law there.
Earlier this year, Nigeria formed a coalition with neighboring Chad, Niger and Cameroon to fight against the radical Islamist group. The coalition set up a multinational joint task force involving troops from the countries affected by the insurgency. In his latest attempt to step up the campaign against the militants, President Buhari chose to replace his defense chiefs on Monday.
In another area of the country, two female suicide bombers killed 12 people at two prayer grounds. That bombing, in the northeastern Nigerian town of Damaturu, occurred as people were preparing to celebrate the end of Ramadan, the Muslim holy month of fasting. Recent attacks have also occurred in the central city of Jos and the northern cities of Kano and Zaria.