No fewer than 14 persons were killed on Wednesday in a suicide attack on the Chibok Market in Borno State.
Also, five other persons, who had gone to the bush to fetch firewood, were killed by fighters of the outlawed Boko Haram sect in Jawu, near Auno, a village in Borno State.
In the attack on the Chibok market on Wednesday, 30 persons were similarly injured.
Coincidentally, the market was reopened on the day of the attacks, having been shut since over 200 schoolgirls were abducted from the Government Secondary School in the town on April 14, 2014.
The Chairman, Chibok Local Government Area of Borno State, Mr. Ba’ana Lawan, confirmed the suicide attack on Chibok.
Lawan, who claimed he was out of the town and as such could not give the details of the attack especially the number of casualties, said he was told of the attack on the telephone.
One of the residents of the town, Ibrahim Suleiman, told one of our correspondents on the telephone that eight people died on the spot, adding that six more persons among the injured later lost their lives at the hospital.
Suleiman said, “The market was only opened today (Wednesday) and the suicide bombers hit the market at exactly 12.54pm. Eight people died on the spot while over 30 were rushed to the General Hospital, Uba, in the Askira Local Government Area, with two of the victims in critical condition.”
A resident of Chibok, Solomon Abga, while speaking with our correspondent on the telephone, said that the suicide bombers carried out the attacks despite the heavy presence of security men in the town.
“I cannot understand the reason why the government is insisting that normalcy has returned when you cannot go to Chibok from Maiduguri through Damboa? The road is still closed because Boko Haram terrorists are still operating 21 kilometres away from Maiduguri,” he said.
Another version of the attack, however, explained that aside from the explosion at the market, a second blast occurred at a military checkpoint in the town.
Our correspondent learnt that a suspected bomber was apprehended at a different location in the town.
The number of soldiers who were affected in the blasts could not be immediately ascertained, but it was gathered that many of them might have been injured.
The Chairman, Chibok Community in Abuja, Chief Tsambido Abana, confirmed the attacks while speaking with one of our correspondents on Wednesday.
He said, “A blast went off in the market while another one exploded at a military checkpoint. My uncle and niece were also injured in the blasts; they are being treated in the hospital now.”
Meanwhile, the firewood dealers who were killed were said to have been found by youth vigilance group after the civilian security operatives launched a manhunt for them.
It was learnt that the five slain persons were part of a team of 15 firewood dealers, who had gone to Jawu, a village near Auno, about 20 kilometres from Maiduguri, the state capital.
Eight of the dealers, who left Maiduguri on Monday, were said to have escaped the attack of the insurgents, but two others were said to be missing.
The eight traders who escaped had reported the attack, prompting a group of youth vigilance group, hunters and policemen to embark on a manhunt for the missing traders.
According to Audu Ishaq, the vigilantes and hunters from Bulumkutu, Pompomari, Gomari and Ajilari Cross mobilised for a rescue operation on Tuesday afternoon.
Ishaq said, “After hours of searching the forest, we saw the victims’ bodies scattered around the bush. Their hands were tied from behind. Some had their throats slit, while others died from gunshots.