.Photo: Scene of a suicide bombing at a bus station in Kano, Nigeria on 24 February, 2015. Courtesy: Reuters. –
Reports say suicide bombers struck two bus stations in different parts of northern Nigeria on Tuesday, killing at least 26 people in attacks President Goodluck Jonathan blamed on Boko Haram, the Islamist militant group he said would soon be defeated.
In the first, a suicide bomber rushed onto a bus in the northeastern town of Potiskum before setting off a blast that destroyed the bus and killed 16 people, according to security and hospital sources.
A police spokesman said the bomber was a man, but that some witnesses had mistakenly blamed a teenage girl who was in fact one of the victims. On Sunday, a girl with explosives strapped to her killed five people outside a market in the same town.
In Tuesday’s second attack, two suicide bombers in a car struck a major bus station in the north’s main city of Kano, killing at least 10 people, police spokesman Ibrahim Idris said.
A Reuters witness saw the twisted, burnt wreckage of four vehicles and the charred remains of at least two bodies.
“I saw the vehicle drive up to that point and just a few minutes later there was a loud blast,” said witness Bello Gearam. “Some people were burning, others running.”
President Jonathan blamed Boko Haram, whose struggle for an Islamic state in religiously mixed Nigeria has killed thousands of people and displaced over a million.
The use of suicide bombers has become a common tactic of Boko Haram since last year as the group expanded territory and became stronger and more deadly. But in the past three weeks it has begun to suffer a string of defeats in a military offensive by Nigeria and neighbors Cameroon, Niger and Chad, all of which have been destabilized by the Islamists.
“President Goodluck Jonathan condemns the reversion by the terrorist group Boko Haram to the callous bombing of soft targets, in the wake of the rapid recovery by Nigerian troops and their multinational allies of areas formerly controlled by the sect,” his office said in a statement.