Skip to main content

Deadly suicide blast, Boko Haram attack in northeastern Nigeria

By Aminu Abubakar, Hassan John and Ben Brumfield, CNN
updated 1:20 PM EST, Mon December 1, 2014
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • State spokesman says Boko Haram fighters are forced out of town of Damaturu
  • Explosions before dawn jolt residents out of their sleep as Boko Haram invades Daaaturu
  • In nearby city of Maiduguri, at least six killed in suicide bombing
  • Local commander says female bomber targeted city's market at 11:00 a.m.

Kano, Nigeria (CNN) -- A suicide bomber killed at least six people in the northeastern Nigerian city of Maiduguri on Monday, while Boko Haram militants attacked the town of Damaturu to the west but were driven out after a 10-hour battle.

The sector commander for Maiduguri's civilian task force told CNN a female bomber had carried out the attack on the city's market at 11:00 a.m.

At least six people had died and the toll was expected to rise, Cmdr. ‎Abba Aji Kalli said. More than 20 people had been taken to hospitals, many in critical condition, he said.

Police gave a slightly different account, saying two female bombers had targeted the main gate of the market, killing five.

Suicide attack leaves 6 dead
Hundreds dead in Nigeria mosque attack
Report: Dozens killed in mosque bombing
A video of Abubakar Shekau, who claims to be the leader of the Nigerian Islamist extremist group Boko Haram, is shown in September 2013. Boko Haram is an Islamist militant group waging a campaign of violence in northern Nigeria. The group's ambitions range from the stricter enforcement of Sharia law to the total destruction of the Nigerian state and its government. Click through to see recent bloody incidents in this strife-torn West African nation: A video of Abubakar Shekau, who claims to be the leader of the Nigerian Islamist extremist group Boko Haram, is shown in September 2013. Boko Haram is an Islamist militant group waging a campaign of violence in northern Nigeria. The group's ambitions range from the stricter enforcement of Sharia law to the total destruction of the Nigerian state and its government. Click through to see recent bloody incidents in this strife-torn West African nation:
Boko Haram: Nigeria's crisis
HIDE CAPTION
<<
<
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
>
>>
Boko Haram: Nigeria\'s crisis Boko Haram: Nigeria's crisis
Boko Haram takes over Chibok, Nigeria

A source at the Maiduguri General Hospital said 48 injured had been taken to the hospital from the scene of the attack.

Last week, another suicide attack in Maiduguri, the capital of Borno state, killed at least 78 people.

Meanwhile, battle sounds roared in Damaturu in neighboring Yobe state early Monday as Islamist Boko Haram fighters poured in, an eyewitness said.

"I was in bed around 4:40 a.m., when I was jolted out of sleep with huge explosions and sounds of gunfire," said resident Buka Girema.

Girema fled with his family into nearby brush land. Neighbors have fled their homes as well, he said.

"After some phone calls, I realized Boko Haram gunmen were on the attack. They came in several trucks and vans," he said. They set fire to a police checkpoint, he said.

Militants pushed toward the center of town, and the sound of gunfire spread to compounds that house government workers, residents said.

A nurse working in the town spoke to CNN by telephone as gunshots rang out in the background.

She said she was hiding in her home, and then concluded quietly, "They have entered my house. Please pray for me," before hanging up the phone.

'Heinous and barbaric'

The attack on Damaturu ended in midafternoon. Yobe state spokesman Mohammed Hassan said the Boko Haram fighters were forced out of the town.

"The insurgents were not able to come in full force. They were not able to operate as they wanted. The authorities pushed them out. Many civilians also helped," Hassan said.

Yobe Gov. Ibrahim Gaidam condemned the attack on Damaturu as "heinous and barbaric" and praised security forces for their efforts repelling the militants.

"His Excellency the governor has also been told that the security effort is still ongoing. Security agents will continue to track and pursue any remnants of the attackers who might still be hiding in town.

"The governor urges people in Damaturu and all across our State to continue to remain vigilant and pray to Almighty Allah for His intervention," state spokesman Abdullahi Bego said in a statement.

Campaign of violence

Boko Haram has terrorized northern Nigeria regularly since 2009, attacking police, schools, churches and civilians and bombing government buildings.

On Friday, two suicide bombers and gunmen attacked a Muslim congregation during prayers in the central mosque in northern Nigeria's largest city, Kano, officials said. A third bomb exploded outside the mosque.

Officials said more than 100 people were killed in the attack.

It came two weeks after the emir of Kano, Muhammad Sanusi II, one of Nigeria's most influential monarchs, called for self-defense, urging people to procure arms and fight Boko Haram‎, which has a significant presence in the area.

The emir made the call at the same mosque where Friday's attack occurred.

In April, Boko Haram militants drew international condemnation when they kidnapped more than 200 schoolgirls, many of whom they later said they sold into slavery.

At least 5,000 people have died at Boko Haram's hands, according to a U.S. Congressional Research Service report, making it one of the world's deadliest terrorist organizations.

Journalists Aminu Abubakar and Hassan John reported from Nigeria; CNN's Ben Brumfield wrote and reported from Atlanta. CNN's Nima Elbagir, Lillian Leposo, Kay Guerrero, Tina Burnside and Susannah Cullinane contributed to this report.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
Boko Haram
updated 11:33 AM EST, Thu December 18, 2014
What exactly is Boko Haram, and why has it turned into a Nigerian synonym for fear and bloodshed?
updated 5:46 AM EDT, Wed October 22, 2014
Nigeria says that more than 200 girls abducted by Boko Haram in April are to be released.
updated 8:52 AM EDT, Mon October 20, 2014
Six months after more than 200 schoolgirls vanished in Nigeria, the #BringBackOurGirls campaign has faded. But this man hasn't.
updated 7:24 AM EDT, Sat October 18, 2014
CNN's Jessica King looks at how a social media campaign may have influenced the government to take action.
updated 2:31 PM EDT, Sat October 18, 2014
Despite government claims of a ceasefire, alleged Boko Haram gunmen attack two villages and a town.
updated 12:10 AM EDT, Sat October 18, 2014
Journalist Sarah Topol spent time with some girls who managed to escape. She gives her reaction to CNN.
updated 2:01 AM EDT, Sun October 12, 2014
27 hostages freed from Boko Haram have arrived in the capital of Cameroon. Lynda Kinkade reports.
updated 6:08 AM EDT, Thu September 25, 2014
Nigerian forces battling Boko Haram have killed a man suspected of acting as the group's leader, Nigerian officials said.
updated 6:35 AM EDT, Sun October 19, 2014
In April the world was shocked to learn that Boko Haram had abducted more than 200 girls from their boarding school in Chibok.
updated 6:40 AM EDT, Wed October 22, 2014
With every attack by Islamist militants in northern Nigeria, Daniel Ayuba relives a nightmare.
updated 9:18 AM EDT, Mon May 12, 2014
The terrifying news began to spread before the gun-wielding Islamist militants made it into Chibok.
updated 1:17 PM EST, Wed November 19, 2014
Here's a look at Boko Haram, a militant Islamic group working out of Nigeria, whose purpose is to institute Sharia, or Islamic law.
updated 6:53 AM EDT, Fri October 3, 2014
Nina dos Santos talks to the chief spokesman of a Nigerian opposition party about the challenges his country faces.
ADVERTISEMENT