Thursday, April 2, 2015 11:53 pm
*10 Chadian and Nigerien soldiers killed in an ambush
An explosion near a bus station in Gombe, North east Nigeria has killed five persons, according to witnesses.
The attack bore the hallmarks of Boko Haram.
“We had an explosion outside the motor park (bus station) this evening around 8:30 pm (1930 GMT) which killed five people and injured 15 others,” said Muhammad Garkuwa, a drivers’ union official.
“The explosion was from an explosive left by a woman in her handbag beside a bus waiting to convey passengers to Jos,” he said in an account supported by a nearby food seller.
The bombing on the same day that Chadian and Nigerien military authorities reported the killing of 10 soldiers in an ambush, was a reminder that the Boko Haram threat remains very potent.
Nine Chadian troops and one Niger soldier were killed after being ambushed inside Nigeria.
A Chadian military spokesman said fighting took place on Wednesday about 10 kilometres (six miles) from the town of Malam Fatori, which Niger said was retaken by regional forces fighting the Islamist radicals earlier this week.
“Elements of the Chad-Niger (military alliance) were killed in a pocket of resistance,” Colonel Azem Bermandoa Agouna told AFP, giving a toll of nine Chadian deaths.
“After heavy fighting, the armed forces of Chad and Niger totally cleaned up the zone,” the spokesman added.
A spokesman for Niger’s armed forces, Moustapha Ledru, later said on public television that “one Nigerien soldier” had also been killed in the clashes.
The allied troops killed “more than 100” members of Boko Haram in the fighting, according to a Chadian military statement. Some 16 soldiers were injured in the clashes, it added. Large quantities of equipment were also seized by the soldiers.
Boko Haram’s insurgency, aimed at creating a hardline Islamic state, has led to the deaths of more than 13,000 people in northeast Nigeria since 2009.
When the joint force took Malam Fatori on Tuesday, they were unopposed because Boko Haram fighters had gone, but some of the Islamists remained in the vicinity, Agouna said.
A violent skirmish took place on Wednesday between Malam Fatori and the border town of Bosso in Niger, a high-ranking officer in Niger’s army reported at the time, giving no further details.
That battle left “many wounded on the Chadian and Nigerien sides”, according to a humanitarian relief official, who added that “deaths and arrests” were likely among Boko Haram’s ranks.
The capture of Malam Fatori was crucial for the regional coalition, which also includes Cameroon and Benin, and has finally moved into Nigeria as outgoing President Goodluck Jonathan came under mounting criticism for the failure of a powerful army to defeat the Islamists.