The two other bombers followed minutes later, resulting in the injured, an armed militia leader said, noting that the attack came “hours after reports of sighting of a lot of Boko Haram members outside the city.”
Three female suicide bombers killed 13 people and wounded 16 in the northeastern city of Maiduguri, security sources said. The first bomber detonated her explosive belt around 9:45 pm (local time) yesterday in front of a small restaurant in the capital of Borno state “when people were buying their dinner,” a military source said on condition of anonymity, giving the death toll.
The two other bombers followed minutes later, resulting in the injured, an armed militia leader said, noting that the attack came “hours after reports of sighting of a lot of Boko Haram members outside the city.” There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack.
The Boko Haram conflict has left at least 20,000 dead and forced more than 2.6 million others to flee their homes since 2009. Roads to and from Maiduguri are nominally open to traffic, but in reality, vehicles require a military escort because of the risk of attack. Nigeria’s military and government maintain that Boko Haram is a spent force as a result of sustained counterinsurgency operations against the militants since early 2015.
Deadly attacks have dropped in recent weeks, which security sources attribute to renewed military offensives after the end of the rainy season in September.
Boko Haram stepping up attacks
“It’s a confirmation of the boldness and reassurance that Boko Haram has managed to gain over the last six weeks,” Yan St-Pierre, from the Modern Security Consulting Group, told AFP.
“They have been attacking more and more military outposts and more military convoys. For them to go after NNPC personnel just shows they don’t fear any military reprisal.”
Nigeria is searching for oil in the northeast to try to reduce its reliance on supplies from the Niger Delta, where attacks have slashed production.
Boko Haram has stepped up the frequency of attacks in the last few months. The rebellion in the northeast of the country has killed 20,000 people and forced some 2.7 million to flee their homes in the last eight years.
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After the kidnapping of the oil workers, Acting President Yemi Osinbajo on Thursday sent military chiefs to the northeast to help regain control of the situation.
The move was a change of tactics since the government and military have repeatedly said Boko Haram – which also carries out cross-border attacks in neighbouring Cameroon and Niger – was on the verge of being defeated.
President Muhammadu Buhari said in December that Boko Haram’s stronghold in the northeast’s vast Sambisa forest had been captured.