By Isaac Abrak
A car bomb exploded at a crowded bus stop in the northeast Nigerian city of Gombe, killing at least 10 people and wounding several others near the end of the morning rush hour on Friday, a source in the emergency services said.
No one immediately claimed responsibility for the blast, but Islamist group Boko Haram has been blamed for a string of bomb attacks in the region this year. Gombe is close to Nigeria’s northeast Borno state, the epicentre of the insurgency.
Witness Godfrey Anebo told Reuters he saw emergency workers pull eight people from the wreckage, all of whom appeared to be dead.
“I am not sure what the death toll will be at the end but it will shoot up very high because the bus stop was very full of commuters,” Anebo said.
The emergency services official at the scene told Reuters at least 10 people had died. The military did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The government announced a ceasefire with Boko Haram nearly two weeks ago as part of efforts to negotiate the release of more than 200 schoolgirls kidnapped by the group in April.
But violence has soared since, further denting public confidence in the government’s efforts to end the conflict .
Boko Haram has killed thousands of people and abducted hundreds since launching its uprising in Africa’s largest oil producer in 2009.
The militants, who want an Islamic state in the region, seized control of the northeast Nigerian town of Mubi on Wednesday and Thursday, robbing banks, burning down houses, killing dozens of people and forcing thousands to flee, witnesses said.
The government has said criminal groups caught up in the insurgency are behind some of the recent violence. Since Boko Haram itself is highly fragmented it is impossible to guarantee all factions will respect the ceasefire.
Suspected insurgents killed at least 17 people and abducted dozens in a series of attacks in the centre of Borno state last weekend, officials said. At least 25 girls were kidnapped from a remote northeastern town a few days earlier.