Maiduguri: Two explosions blasted a crowded marketplace in northeastern Maiduguri city tonight, and many are feared killed and wounded in the birthplace of Nigeria`s Boko Haram terrorist network, witnesses said.
Bloodied people screaming for help were running out of buildings billowing with smoke, they said. Trader Mallam Samalia said some people were blown apart.
The second blast caught people trying to help those injured in the first explosion in the Bintu-Suga neighborhood of the Ngomari suburb, he said.
It appeared to be a car bomb, from a pickup truck loaded with wood, Samalia told The Associated Press by telephone. "I`m seeing people carrying bloody bodies," he said. "There are parts of bodies littering the street."
Mechanic Yahaya Adamu said he was on his way home when he heard the blasts, two minutes apart. "There`s black smoke everywhere now," he said. "I`m running home to see if my family is safe."
The police commissioner did not immediately answer his phone to confirm the reports.
It was the first attack in months in Maiduguri, capital of Borno state and the headquarters of a military force tasked with suppressing the 4-year-old Islamic uprising that has killed thousands.
More than 300 people were killed in February alone in attacks increasing in frequency and deadliness, all in the neighboring states of Yobe and Adamawa.
There is growing anger at the military`s apparent inability to halt the attacks, with soldiers reportedly abandoning checkpoints in two recent attacks that killed nearly 100 people, including 59 students, because they are outnumbered and outgunned.
That anger will be fueled by reports that a military fighter jet targeting extremist hideouts bombed a village in Yobe state and killed at least 20 civilians on Friday, according to survivors.
Borno, Yobe and Adamawa state cover one-sixth of Nigeria and have been under a state of emergency since May.