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63 killed in Nigeria after abandoned bombs explode

AFRICA
By AP and BBC | June 17th 2015

A sack of home-made bombs discovered at an abandoned Boko Haram camp exploded, killing 63 people in northeast Nigeria, civilian self-defence fighters said yesterday.

Haruna Bukar, a witness to the blast, said the local militia was patrolling the area when they discovered the camp and found the bag of metal objects, which they carried to the nearby town of Monguno.

As residents gathered around to examine the bag, it exploded, said Bukar.

He said it seemed that while celebrating this discovery at least one of the improvised explosive devices (IEDs) went off killing and injuring people who had gathered around.

Scores of people have been killed this month in suicide and other bombings carried out by Nigeria’s homegrown extremists using these kinds of IEDs.

Flush out

Boko Haram took control of a large swath of northeast Nigeria until a multinational force this year forced them out of towns and villages. Nigeria’s military says the extremists are now confined to the Sambisa Forest.

The group denies this and has stepped up bombings and hit-and-run attacks since President Muhammadu Buhari announced at his May 29 inauguration that the command control centre for the war against the insurgents is moving to Maiduguri, the biggest city in northeast Nigeria and the birthplace of Boko Haram.

The six-year-old Islamic uprising is blamed for the deaths of some 13,000 people. More than 1.5 million have been driven from their homes, some across borders.

This incident highlights the danger that remains even after Boko Haram fighters have been flushed out of an area, a source said.

The group is still holding many women, girls and children captive, including 219 school girls it kidnapped from a school in Chibok in April last year.

With the help of Niger and Chad, Nigeria’s military has been able to recapture towns and villages taken by the group.

 

This week, at least 27 people, including four suspected Boko Haram Islamist militants, were killed in a series of attacks in Chad’s capital, N’Djamena, a government spokesman said.

Meanwhile, the US plans to provide $5 million (Sh489 million) to help support a regional military force fighting Boko Haram, a state department official said on Tuesday.

The US is already providing bilateral aid to Chad, Niger and Cameroon for logistics and other equipment worth about $34 million (Sh3.3 billion), the official said.

The additional funding for the new force, composed of troops from Nigeria, Chad, Niger, Cameroon and Benin, will be channelled via the African Union.

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