Boko Haram bombs bus station, death toll unclear

Boko Haram bombs bus station, death toll unclear

Thursday, October 23, 2014 7:42 am

There is still no official word on the number of people killed Wednesday night in the latest bombing of a bus station in the Bauchi state town of Azare by Boko Haram insurgents.

A large explosion rocked the station last night, further underscoring the hollowness of government’s so-called truce with the insurgents.

File photo: scene of a bomb blast in northern Nigeria

File photo: scene of a bomb blast in northern Nigeria

“We had a huge blast at exactly 9:45 pm (2045 GMT)… We realised it had come from the bus station,” said Musa Babale, a resident of Azare. “The whole place was a mess,” he said.

The police and military did not answer calls seeking comment but another resident of the affected area near the Kano road said the security forces had surrounded the site.

“We found the place cordoned off by soldiers and police,” said witness Mauzu Ibrahim. “From where I stood I saw bodies being put in a van.”

Other witnesses also reported seeing casualties but it was not immediately possible to estimate the number and emergency workers were not available to comment.

Bauchi has been one of the hardest hit areas in Boko Haram’s five-year uprising against the Nigerian state.

Bus station bombings have also become something of a hallmark for the insurgent group after twin attacks at a terminal on the outskirts of the capital Abuja earlier this year killed nearly 100 people.

The station in Azare, a town roughly 200 kilometres (125 miles) from the state capital Bauchi city, is a widely used transit point by travellers coming from Nigeria’s embattled northeast, which has been under a state of emergency since May of last year.

Azare saw a series of attacks blamed on Boko Haram through 2012, while Bauchi has been consistently targeted throughout the uprising, including through church bombings, coordinated gun raids and notably a massive prison raid in 2011.

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